Some of these plays were written close to twenty years ago. It seems so odd to have works so old! That must mean….. I’m old. Let’s move on, shall we?
What an experience to be able to re-visit who I was as a writer way back then. It’s thrilling that they plays are still being done – that means they continue to catch someone’s eye. That to me is the greatest compliment of all – when work survives and thrives. I would say that a couple of these plays are indeed my most popular. Bright Blue for sure receives many productions each year.
I wrote differently back then. I would say that it was more instinct without much process. Now I’m more careful, I think more if that makes sense. I question more, and strive to answer my questions. I pay attention to the craft of writing, as opposed to just writing a play. I took more risks back them in terms of content, but that was more because Theatrefolk hadn’t even fully formed. So there was less attention needed toward creating the high school appropriate play. I’m thankful for that ignorance at times.
And when I watched those plays a couple of thoughts run through my head. First, who wrote that?? I can’t believe Tuna Fish Eulogy came out of me. I don’t know how it came to be. When plays are done and published the creative spark that made it come to life has to move on so that I have room for the next play. It amazes me to go back and see that spark on the stage and know it was my doing.
Second, I sometimes wonder “Was I better playwright then, or am I a better playwright now?” I cultivate a fear that writing on instinct is more creative. That it creates better work. And as I said some of those earlier plays are my most popular.
So it was interesting to also see last month my brand new play Chicken. Road. produced. A play that was written with careful consideration, with attention to questions, with instinct lighting the spark but craft doing most of the heavy lifting. And I love it. I think the reason I have almost twenty years of playwriting behind me, and no end in sight in front, is because I have developed a writing process. I don’t have to wait for instinct and indeed I don’t. I’m never at a loss for what to write next.
In the end, it’s nice to sit in the dark and visit an old friend. And also to think – wow that play is good!