First Reading

We got together last evening for the first reading of Rabbit Island. The Core Theatre peeps were there and Michael Birch and Sarah Bass came out to read 2 of the roles. We met at Tim Sutton’s massage studio on W. 47th St. 7 of us fit comfortably around the table. It was actually at a good height for putting scripts in front and taking notes. And not as sleezy as it might seem.

Lisa Bruno read for Carrie Heitman who was off in Chicago doing Chicago things. Lisa was great as always. I like hearing what people bring out who haven’t heard in a role. I can’t wait to hear Carrie now.

Michael was freaking brilliant as the messed up therapist. I know I will always have to be on my game with him or I will crack up. I don’t know how people are that funny. He’s one of those people who doesn’t really need material to be good.

And good goobly moobly seeing Sarah Bass after 19 years and 4 months was a real treat. I never actually got to act with her back in the NCSA days but I always admired her work. She was brilliant as Viola in Twelfth Night and amazing as Mary Stuart. Now she was across from me on the massage table reading some wack job script I wrote. Part of my brain was acting, part was the playwright trying to take notes and part was like, “wow, that’s that person from 20 years ago.”

I have a long way to go on the script. It’s a world that’s a little off so I need to make it accessible for the audience who will come to visit it. I need to get the trajectories of each of the characters clearer. Last night helped define what each of their hang ups are.

I got lots of great notes last night. I tried to get to the meat of what wasn’t working. I think the play is funny and the characters are interesting. The plot’s not there yet. It’s an alternate reality but not that alternate. It’s a dark comedy when the characters are fully in place but it seems like a quick, breezy thing otherwise. The meaning behind things needs to be clarified.

Monday Monday

Had my second rehearsal for Core Theatre Co’s new series of short works based on the seasons called SPRING. We’ll be reading them on April 16th at 7pm at Center Stage, which is at 48 W. 21st St. on the 4th floor (pay what you will). It’s the old LABrynth Theatre Co. space. Vampire Cowboys are ending a run there this week. My piece is called THE THREE-MONTH FREAK OUT. Tim Flynn and Lisa Bruno are reading it and they do a bang-up job of getting the broken psychology of this pair of people trying to decide whether they should be together.

It was funny at the first rehearsal when I said to Lisa, “It’s like when it’s easier sometimes to let the other person break up with you.” She responded with a “YES!” before she had a chance to think about it. I’ve never done that but I’ve certainly had it done to me. I don’t know why some people would rather let something good fall apart than face it and deal with it. I guess it’s less messy.

It’s been good writing short plays for other people. I’ve been learning my own sense of dramatic structure. Revealing action and character through dialogue rather than monologue, which is what I am more used to doing with solo performance. It’s also nice to sit in the back of the house and take in an audience’s reaction to what you wrote rather than having to keep pumping through the performance. I’ve learned a lot about being clear for the actors. I think if the actors can get what I am writing in the first cold read of a piece then I’ve done my job well enough that the audience will be hooked and go for a ride rather than struggle their way through it. I like making my audiences think, feel, and make connections so they stay alive through a performance but I don’t want them to have to labor. I also like hearing an audience laugh. Usually that lets me know they understand what’s going on.