Tuesday, January 20, 2009

'Wrestling With Words and Deeds'

Today is a big day. January 20th. The day of the beginning of Obama's presidency, and thirty days until I open this show. In the grand scheme of things, obviously one is just a little more important, still, its time to turn the burner up to medium high for those of you who are cooking on a gas stove. It might seem a little frightening (and it is) to think I am still working on the script, (and I am) but I'm also rehearsing and memorizing what is already solid. In  my experience, its why when you go see a production, (especially a community theatre production) the first act always seems to be more polished than the second act. Its because it usually gets rehearsed more. I can remember being in shows that were 'off' on the rehearsal process, and blocking the final scenes the week of the show. This means they are going to get far less 'run through' time than everything else. I will try to not let that happen, but there will definitely be parts that will 'go down the wire'. Today, I have to have a big writing day. This is a warm up. Somedays, (like yesterday) I started what I call 'chasing the rabbit'.  I got on a tangent in the script where I was trying to find a Shakespearean reference to all seven of the movements in the play. It was the wrong move (for right now) and I wound up spending four or five hours 'chasing the rabbit', and when I was through, I had created a whole new set of problems. I ended up taking everything back out again. When things like that happen, its easy to get frustrated, still, it will probably yield something somewhere down the line. 

After working on and off most of the day, I indulged in going to a movie last night at 11:00p. I am so glad I did. If you haven't seen 'The Wrestler', I would definitely go and see it soon. Of course I am a sucker for any comeback story, and well, its not really a comeback story, more of an intense character study.  If you have followed Mickey Rourke's life as I have done, it was a wonderful parallel of 'life imitating art'. Mickey plays Randy 'The Ram', a wrestler who is getting up in years, (he wears both a hearing aid and glasses) and is facing the end of his career as a wrestler. I won't tell you much more, but I will say that it is one of those movies that stays with you. There is lots to ponder in this very well done film by Darren Aronofsky. Wow. I found myself feeling a little like 'The Ram', getting back in the ring for another round of theatre. It was both inspiring and heartbreaking. For anyone wanting 'one more go' at anything in life, it is well worth seeing this movie. If nothing else, Mickey Rourke's face has become a landscape that is well worth watching. 

I've finally been able to resume my walking routine this past week, which takes a little out of me energy wise it seems, but I know it will eventually give it back. I walked through the neighbor hoods of Los Feliz and East Hollywood yesterday early evening, where the large affluent houses are a plenty. There are so many of these houses, (beautiful and old) I kept thinking, "What do these people do to get a house like this?"  I'll bet a good percentage of them work in the 'entertainment industry', which, duh, makes sense. Yesterday, Kurt was also able to get Scott and I memberships to Crunch Gym, so we start our light workouts tonight. Everything right now is focussed and directed towards two things. The first is getting the play up. The second is getting the next job. The play is in motion, and no matter what feelings of 'fight or flight' come up, there is no turning around on that one. If any of you ever want to finish a play, just give yourself a production date and sign a contract for the space, believe me, you will finish. In fact, Its much of the advice I give playwrights wanting to know how to get a play up on its feet. Pick a year. Pick a day. The second part of the motive equation, finding the next job is a little tougher, but we are confident that we will have that by the time the play goes up. We are working several different angles. I'll save those angles for the next entry. 

Its time for me to get to work on the play. Kurt has recommended several more 'cuts', which is always tough, because you get very protective of certain parts of the story you have created. I remember Gus Edwards, (my playwriting teacher) used to say,  "If you are to attached to a part of your writing, it probably has to go..." Whenever there is a particular 'flowery' or especially emotional part, I always try to look at it objectively. It probably has to go. There have been several 'chunks' that have had to go the last week or so, but the play is definitely getting a very tight structure. Happy Inauguration day everyone, the beginning of a new era. 


TJ in Boulder said...

Some scattered thoughts:
In counselling we contract with cliets to accomplich certain tasks we ask them to contract. This requires identifying a specific action that will be performed at a specific time/duration with an estimation of likely success. "I will walk for 40 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, & Friday starteing at 9:00 am. There is a 75% likelihood I will accoplish this goal."
Too easy a task (95% likihood) is not enough of a challenge and too hard (60%) is too hard. We don't want failure but we must be challenged.
Just as individuals are chllenged, so too we are being challenge as a nation. Barack Obama said the other day "We're Americans, when we get knocked down we get back up."
So today in Boulder where many of our friends are without television (yes - really) Lauren & I hosted an Inauguration Breakfast. There were few dry eyes as we felt a communal sense of relief (good riddance GWB) and emotion (Hope?). Raymond we wish you could have been here with us. Stay well. Our thoughts are with you.

Gerry said...

I am still watching inauguration activities. And you are beginning to convey the reality of getting a new play up, so people can realize the risk factor which also contributes to the excitement. Nothing worthwhile happens without risk. And when a vision begins to take form in reality, we can all be transformed by it, so will be looking forward to what your labors and the labors of those helping bring forth. A lot of work had to go into electing a black president, too, so when it finally happens there is an inherent drama and more emotional response than ordinary. So I am trying to take this day in as I will in time come to take your work in. Mom

DB said...

I have seen some playwrights' most cherished speeches slashed from a script, and some of their best writing. But if they didn't help to tell the story, out they went. That's what notebooks are for. Where do we think some of those ancient Greek fragmants came from? I'll bet they weren't all pulled out of some ruins.

A lot of time came be wasted in rehearsals for various reasons. I was directing and whenever I stopped to fix something I would give the leading actress a line to start on to reseume the rehearsal. She always insisted on backing up two or three speeches to get into it. I finally told her to start on the line I gave her because I wasn't interested in that one but on the ones that came two or three lines later.

Best of luck with your rehearsals and your writing. As of today I think it is a new world order.

DB Vagabond Jouneys