We’re here! I’m writing live (much better than any other option) from the International Thespians Festival in Lincoln Nebraska. We drove here over the weekend, which took around 16 hours. Everyone looks at us as if we’re crazy, but we rather like it. The car is quiet, the land is flat, there’s no phone or computer in the car. We have no responsibilities other than to drive. It’s great! Kind of like a vacation. Sorta. Yes I know it’s no one else’s idea of a vacation, but what can I say…
This is our fifth year in Nebraska and in a lot of ways it feels like coming home. We see a lot of people we only see here and it’s wonderful to re-visit with customers. Lots of hugs! It’s been fun. We love coming here every year. It’s the only place to see customers from all over the US and beyond.
We’re bringing our baby Shout! into the world in Nebraska with a big banner, preview scripts, a video, a lovely swanky brochure. The buzz is positive and brisk. We’ll see where it leads. We’re feeling upbeat!
Today I judged monologues for the National Individual Events Showcase. And unfortunately my main response after the day is…. really? These are the candidates for the National showcase? Everyone who reaches this level has had to achieve a Superior ranking at another festival, sometimes two festivals.
I have to say that in general, I’ve been disappointed. I’m disappointed at how many monologues went over time. Severely disappointed in one case, the individual was excellent, really thrilling work but won’t be able to advance. I’m disappointed at the number of times I had to write ‘watch your diction.’ And ‘make sure your movements are character motivated’ and ‘what does your character want? These sound like basic issues that shouldn’t exist at this level.
What’s the problem? Is it the stress of the event? Has it been too long since the last time they performed and they didn’t practice? Have they been given bad advice? I wish I knew.
Tomorrow I’m going to interview Billy Houck and his cast – he’s got students performing two plays from his collection A Box of Puppies later in the week and I’m going to do a podcast. And I start teaching workshops with a teacher master class: Playwriting in Your Program!