Thinking About Shawn and My Dick – Play

I swung by Shawn’s last night.  Didn’t call ahead or anything and it wound up being kind of awkward.  He had just opened up my blog to see what I’ve been up to, and there I was at the door.  It was similar to that time when Dad found a lingerie catalogue under my bed in grade 8.  Perfectly understandable, but still kind of awkward.  Buddies aren’t really supposed to admit to taking that great an interest in each other.

I don’t know why that is exactly.  We’ve known each other for over two decades.  If he had a blog, I’d read it.  We now live in different cities.  It’s perfectly natural to want to keep tabs on each other.  I guess it’s just that talking about it… well, if we talk about it, then what the hell else do we have to talk about?  He already knows my shit.

I was also quite flattered – in a completely manly, non-gay way – not that I have a problem with gay people.  Gay people are welcome to read my stuff too.

This afternoon I had lunch with Michael Scholar, Artistic Associate at Globe Theatre.  I want to see Not Being a Dickon stage someday and he knows approximately 4773 times more about the theatre world than I do.  It proved to be informative.

He recommended that once I get my play in shape, submit it to ‘Summerworks’ in Toronto and the fringe festival circuit around Canada.  They will supply the technician, lights, sound, venue, and some promotion.  Sell tickets.  Get audiences, media, and Artistic Directors to see it.  Generate buzz.  Become critically acclaimed.  Travel the show.  Generate more buzz, expose it to more audiences, media, and Artistic Directors.  Sell more tickets.  Land it in an established theatre and do a bigger production.

Easy to say.  There remain some logistics that need pondering.

At best, this idea becomes a next summer thing.  There may be a small window to get it in some late summer festivals, but then I would have to make Dick my biggest priority for the next few weeks.  I’d really have to look at that kind of time commitment, and see if that’s the best use of my time at this stage of my career.

I am committed to being in the CFC Prime Time Television Program in the fall.  It’s a highly competitive program to get into (only 8 writers are accepted from across Canada each year), but I gotta believe I have a good shot at it.  I’ll be locked down for five months, and my ability to generate income will be limited.  Gotta make a chunk of cash over the next four months, and ideally, I’ll make that money doing something related to writing, producing, directing, shooting, and/or editing.

Is their room to develop a play in there?

A Rememberation of Past Events

It’s Sunday morning.  I’m about to get myself ready for the day – pack up, map out the day, and then later buy Kate the lupper I owe her.

It’s been a week full of thoughts, some more profound than others.  Seeing four scenes of my play on stage with Courtney was powerful moving.  I wouldn’t shut up about how moving it was, telling anyone who would listen, the story of my life.  In hindsight, it was really quite embarrassing, but I guess that’s what happens when I get drunk on poetic irony.  It’s possible my lameness wasn’t too well noticed as everyone else was getting drunk off whatever liquids they might have purchased from the bar.

I did phone Julianne the next day to tell her about it.  We had a very nice, non-dramatic conversation about the drama in my life.  I could feel her smiling on the other end of the phone.  I thought it best to end the call at that point.  Makes for a better memory.

I spent the rest of the week sitting in on a few of the other writers’ workshops, falling into dramaturgical conversations about specific plays we saw, or simply just talking about the craft in general.  Writing can be a solitary thing.  It’s nice to have company about it for a few days.

Ryan and I have been hanging out a ton.  I took him to breakfast at my mother’s table yesterday, and the night before, we drained some pints at Bushwakers for ‘First Firkin Friday’.  First Firkin Friday is an event that takes place every first Friday of the month.  Scottish pipers lead a procession of firkin bearers through the bar.  The firkin is then tapped by a member of the procession, and the drinking begins.

I’ve had my office above Bushwakers for almost 6 years and never once was I asked to participate in the procession.  It’s really quite an honour.  Friday night changed all that.  Since Ryan works for a family brewery back in New Brunswick, he was asked to be in the procession, and by extension, I was asked to bear the firkin, along with some other guy who was celebrating his birthday.  We got the whole thing on video.

I have writing on the brain.  I have writing career on the brain even more (and what else is new?).  Today will be a good day to map it out a bit.  I have two plays that need polishing.  I have another sitcom percolating.  I have follow-up with my existing projects.  I have an application to complete for the CFC Prime Time Television program.  I have friends to see, business to schmooze, and things that need handling.

This would be a good time to end the article.  Leaves a better memory that way.

When It Starts to Make Sense

It’s like the Universe just slams people and circumstances into my path.  I needed to tangle with Julianne to understand Becky.  I needed to complete Becky to understand Courtney.  In understanding Courtney, I came to learn more about myself.

There’s a pattern emerging methinks.  I am attracted to a certain kind of instability.  Look at my career.  Look at the nature of my relationships.  Look at the big moves in my life.  Look at how I always seem to land on my feet (though never in predictable places).

Courtney began texting me during our read yesterday.  It was during the scene where David texts Becky.  Poetic.  We made plans for her to come see my play in a few hours’ time.

She sat beside me as we waited for my show to start.  It was the first time I’d seen her since I slept with her (non-sexually), my last night in Regina in November.  I told her about Julianne – how I was able to fuse her spine into the missing pieces of Becky – how doing so helped me to understand where the missing pieces of my own relationship with her.

Courtney smiled.  She turned to me and asked what I thought the missing pieces were.  I told her that I figured out she has exactly the same sickness that Julianne does.  “Yes,” she said simply, then told me the medical term for it, as if saying it out loud confirmed that we were now onto the next chapter of our friendship.  I felt the weight of our entire history instantly vanish from our shoulders.

I watched her watch herself on stage.  I watched her watch this strange new creature, Becky – fused from selected pieces of Julianne.  Two women, 2,700 kilometres apart, bound by a fictional character on stage, a genuine relationship with myself, and an illness they both struggle to overcome.

Life sometimes takes a while to make sense.

Basking In Festival Thoughts

I’ve been living in residence here at the University of Regina, basking in the SPC’s Spring Festival of New Plays.  It’s my second time around and it’s absolutely GREAT being a playwright in a playwrights’ festival.  I managed to drain a couple of pints with Ryan Gibbins, a playwright from New Brunswick when I first arrived.  Sat in on day one of the workshop for his play, ‘Demolotics’.  The festival gave him an excellent group of professional actors, and his director is someone I’ve known for years.  After breaking at lunch, I took him to Triffon’s for his first taste of ‘Regina Pizza’ and we discussed some issues with his draft.

I’m surrounded by writers, actors, directors, and dramaturges and we all are doing our best, to bring the best out of each other.  If I have a story problem, I have people to bring it up with.  If others are having story problems, I’m happy to lend my ear.  In between, there is us just being us, hanging out, drinking, musing, and polishing our crafts.

Last time I was here, I took it all for granted.  I didn’t realize what an honour and a privilege it was to have this opportunity.  I still gained much from the experience, and indeed, it did set me on my present course, but I could have done so much more with it.  Artistic Directors from a number of theatres populated the place, and I did nothing to schmooze them.  I just assumed people would line up to read my play.  I’ve since learned that everyone has a stack of new plays on their desks that reach to the ceiling.  Getting them to watch your workshop, and following up a short time after does wonders to a play’s future.

My workshop for ‘Dick’ is tomorrow.  I thought about pulling out the script for a quick once over, but decided against it.  I’ve had several months worth of thoughts about it.  It’s now time to put it in the hands of the theatre creatures to see what I already might know, but haven’t communicated on the page yet.  I’m also looking forward to learning about the things I don’t know yet.  It’s gonna be a busy day.