Monday, May 16, 2011

Role-Playing: Playwright for Hire

Playwriting was never really a goal of mine as a fledgling writer-type-person. I was going to be a novelist. Or a poet. Or a ... Person Who Writes Short Stories (we need a nickname here). I wrote a collection of A-B dialogues in high school that all seemed to have something to do with elephants (don't ask), but that was it. Or it was supposed to be.

And then, one drab summer I wrote myself a role in a play. And then I wrote another play that, though based on me and two others, I later retweaked (several times) massively to fit the actual actors cast in the production.  This clearly gave me the very dangerous notion that I had the power to write roles for specific people.

So one night I declared my intention to write a role for friendJessica - nay, to write an entire play for her - inspired by one story she told me from her past involving singing telegrams (insert your own memory of Clue here). I wrote the first scene chunk of the first scene. And told her that, any day, I would get that play written. This was ... two and a half years ago. I've written tiny chunks since but nothing substantial.
One of the central characters is a young writer who sits around all day reading old magazines and manuscripts of other people's writing, frustrated and unable to produce anything on his own. I'd write more, but right now I'm missing the rest of his plot.

No, the irony is not lost on me.

Cut to: 2011, a few weeks ago. I'm in conversation with friendAmanda, a brilliant talented ActorPerson and over the course of our Mutual Admiration Society meeting, the minutes recalled to us that she had in fact performed in a ten minute play I wrote in college (witty banter, paltry plot). I then declare On the Record my intention to write her another role in a New Play.


My little brain coup occurred when I realized a mere genderswap could put both friendAmanda and friendJessica in the same play, and perhaps this switch could be enough to prod me forward.


Here's hoping.

Sidenote: playwriting is haaaaaaaaaard yo. But I like the freedom to tell stories that everyone can come see. I like the chance to give my talented friends an opportunity to show their stuff. I like that part of me that can recognize how awesome my friends are and then have the ability to capitalize on that. And I like the fact that even if you're an unknown writer in New York with no novels, stories, or poetry published, you can still probably find a place to put up a play you wrote. That's pretty cool.
I'm a writer, right? A good one, most people agree. And unlike a lot of these "instinct" writers, I know what makes good writing good. Do you know how hard it is, to spend hours on hours reading someone else's schlock, knowing you're better than him, yet knowing somehow, some way, this mediocrity has got it on you? That he's somehow got it all figured out enough to get something accomplished. Even if it's shit. Even if you both know he's shit. He's better than you. It's paralyzing. - Caitlin, 101 Ways to Skin a Cat

1 comment:

  1. Oh frustration! I'm glad I'm one of your muses. Let me know if there is anything you need from me. Have I mentioned I'm happy I have so many talented friends? Guess what? You're one of them!