A whirlwind trip to New York this weekend for the NYSTEA conference. On paper it was a good idea to take an early morning flight the day of the conference (it’s so expensive to stay in Manhattan and we didn’t have time to make this a business/vacation trip) but I don’t think we quite realized that early morning was 4:30. That’s early. Nauseous early.
In retrospect it was the right thing to do, but I certainly didn’t feel that way on Saturday. At 4:30.
Luckily, being in New York – whatever the time length – is always a thrill. We got to walk through Washington Square Park where a rhythm and blues singer had his own mosh pit, we got to eat amazing pizza for lunch. And we even had a little bit of time to walk around Greenwich Village. The day for the most part was sunny, crisp and clear. A great day to be in New York.
Had a good time meeting teachers and a couple came up to me to tell me they were doing my plays. One was performing Among Friends and Clutter, and the teacher told me how much his students loved it. That’s really neat because the play is fifteen years old.
I presented two brand new workshops at this conference – one on moving students beyond the first draft of a script and how to run a new play workshop. I’ll be doing these most of the year and this was their first public appearance. Pretty nerve wracking for me – I need to write out a script for workshops and practice it over and over. It’s my last thread connection to acting! Once I get it down, then I can go off the cuff but not at the beginning. That’s why I’m a writer. I write things down. I’m not spontaneous.
When I present workshops, it’s always a crap shoot as to how many people will come. I do what I can to make the program description interesting but still I never know. My hopes weren’t high this weekend because I was competing with NEW YORK CITY – I know if I was there I’d have a hard time thinking about workshops.
My fears were somewhat realized – I had two in the first workshop and one in the second. Both these workshops are participation orientated, which is just not feasible with such low numbers. So the show was on me to present the information verbally as opposed to through action. Never my preference, but they were there and I was there, so onwards and upwards. I think I did passably in the first workshop ( I got lost in my information, which I hate. I hate not looking prepared) and not bad in the second.
The great thing was that I met three really interesting theatre teachers. All very positive and looking for information and seemed to love theatre. So I may have had small numbers, but who cares? The people who were there wanted to be there and were willing to learn.
And the thing is you never know. You never know who’s going to be in your workshop or who’s going to show up at your table and they’re the customer of the century. If you never know, that means you have to treat everyone as if they’re the customer of the century. Now let’s be real, I don’t always do this. I’m human. And very cranky at 4:30 in the morning. But I do try.
On the way out of the city that night, five girls (obviously acting students) dressed up at stewardesses from the sixties in matching pink outfits performed on the stairs of the West 4th subway. They cooed one after another at my husband as he lugged a suitcase down. Only in New York.
PS: Just as I was finishing the post above, got a phone call. A guy who was at the conference, came to the table and picked up one of our new scripts that hasn’t even hit the catalogue yet. He loved it, took it back to Miami (now that’s a trip for a conference!) and now they’re doing it for Thespians. You never know.