Sunday, February 1, 2009

'Getting to the End...'

Friday night marked three weeks until opening. We have today off, Monday off, and then its just two weeks of rehearsal and the tech week. The last two rehearsals have taken on an intensity that wasn't there before, we are getting closer.  After writing and re-writing for weeks and weeks, and then rehearsing and trying out new material, I think I finally have the material I need for the ending. As I said before, several pages of writing may be very good but that doesn't mean it belongs in the script. That is the tricky part. Friday, I brought in five new pages of material having to do with the Hamlet overlay, a semi-subplot, (for lack of a better way to put it) As I read it up on the stage, half way through the pages I realized that most of this material could not be used, however, it was material that still had to be written to get to 'other material'. Isn't that crazy? Knowing there was three weeks until the opening, even though I knew where I 'sorta' needed to go, I was in a panic for most of the night. I slept restlessly Friday night, and then got up early and wrote new pages. I took the 'essentials' of the pages, and reduced it to one and a half pages, and then had to write 'beyond' that. I hope that makes some sense. During all of this, I am memorizing and standing up pages and pages of the monologue. Lately, I've been waking up at about three in the morning, memorizing for a couple of hours, turning the light off and repeating until I go to sleep again around five our six. A couple hours after that, I've been getting up, making coffee and writing until rehearsals at one in the afternoon. It's been a fairly intense schedule, but its yielding its fruit. 

Sometime today, I have to get to another 'writing session', so that I will sleep tonight. At yesterday's rehearsal, we finally 'hit' the third act turn. Two sections of the play have been identified and locked in, except for the last part of the second section. A turn has to happen in the story, to get to the third section, which becomes the home stretch. It usually reveals itself through lots of writing and rehearsing. When it finally revealed itself, it was very emotional. Doubly because this play is very personal. There were some elements of the story concerning my father that had to be faced, the main element is dealing with the possibility that he could have been abducted. The search for him in the desert was prolonged and intense. I have always let myself believe in the idea that my father walked until he succumbed to the elements. I never faced the other possibilities. Now I have, and that was a painful part of the story. So much of this process has been 'the process' of dealing with his 'disappearance', but more importantly, dealing with how and what made him a 'disappearing specialist'. No one deserves to have his life end with no one to 'be there', but his life is full of disappearances. The fact is that he learned this trait very early on.

The writing became more difficult when I realized that the story I was telling was not so much about me, but about him, and how his life effected mine. I had to reduce the story to a theme that would have maximum impact at the end of it, instead of some colorful stories. It is still a journey that has a ways to go, but for whatever reason, I've been given this opportunity to develop it. 

There is another 'L.A.' story that is 'developing', but the only thing that I know right now is that  one of the 'random' people in the photo we took for the postcard happens to be someone that a friend of Scott's knows, and wants to meet with me about the play. We are getting a great 'buzz' down at the Elephant theatre where we are doing the play, and although the ticket sales are not going through the roof, I think we will get an audience for this play. I believe that the 'ghosts' in my life are working overtime to secure this play in the history of a family. Have a great and 'super' Sunday. 


Grace said...


what a word.

lorettabarrera said...

i love love love to hear about how you're doing and your process.
I'm going to go see it, the show.

Gerry said...

I just had to wait until the Cardinals either won or lost, before I could write anything, and now they have lost without disgracing themselves I can write. I can feel the buildup now for sure. I asked Dante last night if he wanted to come to L.A. with his dad and me to see your show, and he was enthusiastic. I said I would pay for all three tickets as soon as Dan can get settled on a date, probably in March. Sounds like Margie and Cheryl plan to make the trek from Utah. I read a bunch of reviews today in the Sunday paper and thought about theater, but none sound as exciting as a new play. This has got to be a new high for you too in a long history of pretty good theater highs. Mom.

Pamela said...

I always enjoy reading your progress in developing your play. I hope you have a good week.

Ann said...

I am more than fascinated about the writing process you are going through to cut through and find that emerging Self...beyond the influence of others. I am ever intrigued as you discard and add to find the right voice. (I would be in a panic by now knowing that the show must go on!!!!)
I might not get to LA to see this emerging creation, but I will be in Boulder. I hope you can do Boulder! But only think of your on stage character two weeks away.
I am breathless!

Cheryl said...

You are keeping me inspired to work as hard as you are. I applied for two grants today for the Festival and for the Boulder Schools book. So don't get too tired with this production, there are more to follow. I was thinking on the Boulder production this morning. Luckily we have the King work ethic or it may actually be the King manic. Ride this pony.