Today, I get to hear new work aloud. I’m running a new play workshop at a school. This play has been sitting on the page for months. I’ve loved every word in my head. Now I get to find out if it actually works when it’s said aloud, when it moves around a stage, when it’s acted and not just lounging around on the page. Yeeks.
I’m always a nervous wreck when I hear new stuff. On Saturday I got to talk to a group of Middle School playwrights who had submitted plays into the playwriting competition at Florida Thespians. They’ve just started writing plays and I’ve been doing it for years but that didn’t matter – we were just a bunch of playwrights sitting around talking about how nervous we get when actors get a hold of our work.
I’m pretty sure this workshop is going to go well. I’ve been doing this long enough that I’m pretty sure how the words are going to sound. But the thing is…. I’m only pretty sure. I’m not %100 sure. Because, unfortunately, plays don’t live on the page. Theatre is an visual and aural experience. It’s got to work in action. Being pretty sure isn’t good enough.
Student actors don’t like nervous playwrights. It makes them think they’re doing something wrong. Which is never the case. The students I work with on my new plays always do exactly what I need to assess the play. It’s the play itself that makes me nervous. Yeeks. Double Yeeks. Yikes even.
I’m going to have to keep those butterflies hidden….