Where you been, D?
Well, I finished that draft.
Yeah, but that was a week ago.
A week’s not that long.
Um, it is when you only have a month to start with.
A month for research and a month for writing.
I was waiting on notes from the Onsite team.
Yeah but you got those Tuesday.
Well, they were hard notes to digest.
They told you it sucked?
No. No. They just said, “Hey we like this, but hey we don’t like this.” Which is cool, but you inevitably focus on the “Hey we don’t like this.” And then the dreaded, “Hey, we think the play should actually start where it ends” comment.
Ouf. That’s a kick to balls.
So it took me a couple days to breathe and come at it objectively and hear what they were saying without the defensiveness, and realize that they are right: it would be a stronger piece–and a much more fun piece–if it started at the end of what I had created. Sometimes you have to write a lot of prologue to get to the interesting part of a play; and then you toss that prologue away and just keep the interesting part. It is like a first date with your play. What is invaluable about working with a director who has studied movement extensively and an artistic director who is an actress is that they are much more aware of action than I am. I love words; sometimes I need a kick in the pants to make my characters run around. Which is what this play wants: lots of running around. So they were good notes. Great notes. The best kind: honest and direct. Doesn’t make the prospect of starting over any less daunting.
You have to start over?
Well, with a lot of the writing, yes; a lot of the character stuff is pretty good, and a number of the bigger plot elements are staying. Some portions will be saved, and some of it will recycled in different ways. But for a piece to be cohesive, you can’t just cut a section and put a new section in. That’s like putting speed bumps on a freeway.