It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
And I’m feeling good
From The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd
I almost dumped a play awhile ago. I had been working on it for over a year. And it just wasn’t moving forward. I saw a production and it didn’t work. As far as I was concerned, that was the straw landing on the back of the camel. I was five seconds away from wiping my hands and walking away for good. Ceremoniously dumping the whole thing in the trash, yelling out ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’ as I stormed out of the building, artistic scarves billowing behind me. I do love an artistic billow.
An intense reaction, yes? Had I stopped to think, the reaction had a lot to do with some outside factors. My reaction was over the top and far from grounded. Not the best time to be making big decisions like – hey let’s take a year of work and ceremoniously dump it in the trash, artistic scarves a-billow.
So after a few minutes of inner temper tantrum (there’s nothing more fun *insert sarcastic eye roll here* than being all chipper-happy-happy on the outside and rolling around on the floor pitching a fit on the inside) I walked away, took a deep breath and said to myself – ‘let’s have a look tomorrow.’
Actually I waited a week. And I sat down, did some more deep breathing (breathing is good, everyone should do it) and opened the file. And it was fine. It was! There were problems but guess what – I made a list of those problems and after some more time away fixed those problems. One by one. I realized the production brought the problems to light and that was a good thing.
All of this is the reason first drafts are never the final draft. Plays need time to develop. Problems need time to be properly fixed. Questions need time to be answered. And if you write your play in one sitting, that’s swell but it’s not going to be the best that it could be. Sometimes you need to put your work to the side and see what it looks like in the light of a new dawn.
And now I’m so pleased with my play. And proud. And singing show tunes in the early morning, apparently.
Have you ever headed down a dark road with a work and was able to turn the ship around?