Real Life (With the Boring Bits Removed)

They say ‘Theatre’ is real life with the boring bits taken out.  I’ve been getting a rather heavy dose of it lately, and the best part is that ‘theatre’ and I just kind of found each other naturally these past few days.

As I already mentioned, I learned a monologue this weekend.  Then on Monday, I participated in a reading circle with a group of theatre creatures in the theatre department at the U of R.  We read an unfinished play by Catherine Banks, an award winning playwright from Nova Scotia.  Catherine was in the room with us as we read, making notes and seeing what adjustments she could make in future drafts.  I read three different characters.  Afterwards, we moved to the Shu Box and Catherine read parts from three of her plays to an audience of about 90 people.

As I watched Catherine read, and heard her talk about her writing process, my thoughts drifted towards my own play.  I won a 24 hour playwriting competition two years ago with this play, but it needs a lot of work.  I mean, shit, I wrote it in 24 hours, of course it needs work.  Still, I think it has lots of potential, and the biggest problem I can see with it, from a dramaturgical perspective, isn’t with what’s already written, but with what’s missing.  It has a strong beginning, and a great ending, but no middle.

Yesterday, for the first time in two years, I got started on that middle.  I wrote two scenes.  I wrote until I got dizzy from staring at the screen.  It felt great.  It felt great to be creating something, to be breathing life back into a story I care so much about.  Still, there were trying moments as well.  This play is semi-autobiographical, with names and events changed and/or enhanced slightly to protect the innocent and heighten the drama.  It’s MY reality, with the boring bits taken out.

I’m finding it difficult to put words in the mouths of characters who are based on real people in my life.  It is with some hesitation that I take some of the most tender, intimate moments of my life, and share them with the world.  I feel a great responsibility to get it right, not just for me, but mostly for those whom I write about.  In the case of one character in particular, this play is a big part of her life too.

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