Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Tick Talk performed by Arnprior Secondary School at the All-Ontario Showcase for the Sears Drama Festival here in Toronto. It was great to see a play in my hometown! I first heard about the show when a girl in the cast emailed me – I think she was shocked that I wrote her back and told her I would certainly come.
The Sears Festival works on a three tier competition level: schools compete first in their District, then in their Region and those winning their Region perform at the final showcase. It was very rewarding to see a show at the All Ontario level; I’ve been going to see the showcases for a few years now.
The production was outstanding. As I’ve mentioned before, Tick Talk has had a little controversy as audiences fall in the ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ category. It’s a challenge acting-wise because there’s very little dialogue: The actors have to convey the story through subtext. And boy did they ever! This cast (this student-directed cast!) did an excellent job with showing the story and creating these wonderful characters. I GOT the show. (I know I should get the show. I wrote the show. It’s hard to explain, but it was a great feeling. Made me want to run home and write more plays.)
I always listen to an audience when I’m watching one of my shows. For the most part they were dead silent and didn’t move a muscle – except for the charming group in the top right corner who just couldn’t get their act together. They previous play that night was a Holocaust play, and they laughed at parts of that. That kind of group.
Had an interesting conversation with the cast afterwards about script changes. A couple had been made and even though I didn’t want to put a damper on the evening, I was asked what I thought about them and I had to say that I didn’t like being surprised that way. In general, because of our customers, I have to be somewhat flexible to changes. There are somethings that some schools just can’t do. All I want is to be asked. And in most cases if a change has to occur, I want to be the one who makes the change.
Craig made a great analogy about using a script. It’s like renting a car. Say you rent a blue car and you think that it would be much better looking as a red car. And you spray paint it. And then you try and return it to the car rental agency. Unsurprisingly, the car rental agency isn’t going to be too happy. When you do a play, you’re renting it. And you should do it as it is written, or at least find out first if you can spray paint it red…