Thursday, December 07, 2017

The Reading

So, how did it go? Very well, thank you.

Earlier this week, we had a reading for "Human Resources", a play I wrote.  Here's the backstory:

This play had its start in a class at the Seattle Rep. We were supposed to end the semester by presenting a short scene. I wrote one about layoffs. It was well-received. Our class stayed together and formed a writing group, meeting once a month up on Queen Anne Hill at the home of one of our group. We would read scenes. We would start plays, change plays, create scenes out of order, retrench, rewrite, revise. And of the bunch, I finished first, and my question was: What now?

I started looking around for a venue to read the play. Not perform, but just let it out into the wild and solicit comment and feedback. There are a number of small groups through-out Seattle (a theatre-heavy town, thank goodness), and I checked out the Seattle Playwrights Salon at the Conservatory, the WARP group at the Armory, and the Seattle Playwrights Studio at the Burien Actors Theatre. At the last they were looking for someone to read one of their plays. I had said I had one and they scheduled me for the first Monday in December.

And so the madness begins -

I was responsible for recruiting a group of actors. I chose as a lead an actress I had seen the previous month at the BAT. Two old friends with acting/stage experience. A co-worker. A young man I knew who was working at ArenaNet. These were my strolling players. We had a table read at a local restaurant the week before. Rust was shaken off, and the readers got a chance to work out bits of business in the play. We had dinner.

And we sent out invites. Members of my writers' group. Members of my gaming group. Co-workers (telling them that they were not in the play. Really). Friends of friends. I did not count the house, but I had a lot of people show up - on previous evenings the readers outnumbered the audience. We had about 20 folk show up that evening.

The SPS is based out of the Burien Actors Theatre, which is located in a community center in Burien, just north of the downtown district. We don't get the auditorium (young people were rehearsing a Christmas pageant), but rather one of the large utility rooms. A mixture of cushioned chairs and sofas for the audience. Readers in a semi-circle facing them, seated in folding chairs and with their scripts perched on their music stands.

And it went very well. My readers were excellent, and I thank Carol, Stan! Janna, Jorge, and Micheal for their help. The crowd failed to bolt at the intermission, and afterwards had a LOT of comments, so many that a lot of them got back to my afterwards by email. They disagreed with each other, revealed some things I was worried about, and made connections that I did not even see. I picked up a lot, and know I have a lot to do to bring this up. And when I got home the Lovely Bride and I went through the bulk of them.

The next step? A revision. Some of the comments can be addressed by a line or two, but the bulk of them involve fundamental changes, knocking out narrative walls and rewiring the plot. It should be interesting, and I learned a lot.

And I have a plan for the next stage of this adventure. More later,