In the past week and a half I saw a reading of Sweep Under Rug (a brand new play I’m working on) in New York, a production of Shattered in Minneapolis, two readings in Kalamazoo, MI, and a production of Emotional Baggage in Virginia That, is a lot of travel and a lot of theatre. It’s been great, if not a little bit tiring. But I hardly have anything to complain about. I’m traveling around, seeing theatre. Wow, hard work!
The Sweep Under Rug reading was with a great youth company called TADA! They mainly do family musicals with their ensemble but then also do a reading series each year which I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of. The kids there are immensely talented and I knew that my play would get a great read. The play has some interesting technical elements with some characters having very limited dialogue to work with, some with very stilted and clipped dialogue to work with and there’s also a layer of poetry. All stuff that has the potential to sound very different on the stage than it looks on the page.
For example, the girl who read the character with the stilted language read it exactly the way I envisioned it, but it wasn’t exactly right. It was too stilted and slowed the pace of the play down in a way I didn’t like. She did a great job, and because she did a great job I know I’m going to have to look at the character again and make changes.
In Kalamazoo I was supposed to go with Allison Williams to a school to do a reading with a class, but it fell through at the last minute. I was all prepared to go into a funk over a missed reading when Allison got her assistant on the phone, got her to find enough actors in less than 24 hours. All of a sudden, my funk is stopped in its tracks. And it turned out to be one of the best readings I’ve held. We had very intuitive actors from Western Michigan University read and they really brought the plays to life.
It’s always exciting when a reading goes well. It gives you proof that you’re on the right track, or if something’s not quite right, you know exactly what you have to. That doesn’t always happen. There’s certainly nothing worse than working on a play and hearing it or seeing it and going – oh. That’s not right at all…..