Friday, July 13, 2007

Flux Theatre's Sunday Play Development Group, Play Progress, and My Exciting Upcoming Weekend

Sorry I haven't blogged more this week. I have been writing and daydreaming about a new trilogy of plays, and so my head hasn't been firmly planted. But I will try to do better.

Went to Flux Theatre's Sunday afternoon new play development group on Sunday. I thought I was a veteran of play development groups and knew the drill going in. I brought my friend Kay who has agreed to help dramaturg my play (Angel Eaters is set in 1930, dustbowl Oklahoma, and I will throw in anachronisms, so it is nice to have another pair of eyes looking at the script for inaccuracies of time and place). And discovered that Flux has a whole different process from what I am used to.

I expected to just read my little scenes and get feedback-- that is how it normally works at these events-- but that's not how they do it. Instead you get assigned a director and a cast and rehearse your staged reading for about an hour and then they perform at the end of the evening! Wow. I was not expecting to have a polished little performance of my fresh-off-the-printer, fresh-out-of-the-brain, messy little baby. I would have done a little more editting! But it was really a marvelous experience. My director Kelly dived right in, and I had the most amazing cast-- very well put together and they were all having fun.

I don't usually like to be in the room much when the actors are stumbling through things. I am more of a show-up-for-first-read-through-see-you-in-tech sort of writer, if the director allows that sort of (bad) behavior. Watching actors go through awkward phases makes me squirm in my chair and summons the demons of self-doubt usually. But, this was really different. The actors are those nice, blessed sort of actors who go for immediate, gut-level choices and have preternatural apprehension about their characters. So they quickly o'r-leapt awkward and went straight to polished. There are a few places where the script is a little over written, but they tried to sell that amiably.

Had a wonderful moment where actress Cotton screeched eerie birdsong (as angel Azazyel-- who will be in all of this trilogy in addition to his appearance in my play Godsbreath) to a delightfully eager Marnie (playing Joann). That convinced me to go in that direction more for Azazyel's scenes. Somehow I also need to get Azazyel talking, but that is a problem for later in the script. And actress Candice had several amazing moments as the hard-as-nails Myrtle, who is desperate to have two carny hustlers (brilliantly portrayed by Greg and Isaiah) resurrect her husband. She did amazing things with a cake cutter for an axe, Greg's head, and a fake chopping block.

Also saw a lovely scene from a new play by Erin (didn't catch her last name) called Narrator, gorgeously acted, about an unresolved love affair with external narrators. Can't do it justice with my description, but it was searingly beautiful. And had a breathlessly exciting excerpt from Gus Schulenberg's new play Sea Concerto, which is poetic, haunting, and features dead children (which I love-- on stage only of course). This was also skillfully acted and features money and greed prominently which is something else I love on stage.

So, I haven't yet written the scene/scenes I am going to work on this Sunday (these meetings are weekly). But I am excited. I may actually skip over and do the opening scenes of the third play in the trilogy, 8 Little Antichrists, which is a futuristic coninuation of the dark family legacy begun in Angel Eaters. Not sure. Should probably forge ahead with Angel Eaters. Will see what comes out.

Am going to see 10 Million Miles at the Atlantic Theater tonight. And meeting my friend Pam Turner from Atlanta to see Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice at Second Stage tomorrow night. I saw the Circle X production of Eurydice in LA and realy loved it, so I am looking forward to seeing it with a new cast.

On Sunday, Kay and I are going to check out a Unity Church service and see if we like it. I like the idea of going to a church-- I just wish it were a weird and fun church like the one I outlined in The Sacred Geometry of S&M Porn, although perhaps a little less violent than that. But, I will give Unity a shot-- I liked the lectures I went to at the Unity Church in Orange, CA. Then we will go to the Flux meeting at 2pm.

Re-joined (joyfully) the Orange County Playwrights Alliance as an associate member. Am very excited to be back in the fold with Eric Eberwein and my OC-playwritng buds. If the full members don't have enough material for the reading series, I can submit stuff for OCPA events again now. Look out OC, here I come! Again.

1 comment:

Ilta said...

Hey Johnna,

I had a great time playing around with Enoch. Can't wait to see you and your work on Sunday, no matter which part of the trilogy it is.

And let me know what you think of Eurydice. I want to see it but it's tough to make the time and justify the expense; if you love it then it's easier to get my ass in gear. :)

- Isaiah