Thursday, May 7, 2009

Heads has first read-through in Chicago

First read through of Heads, which is going to be part of Halcyon Theater's Alcyone Festival in Chicago in June/July 2009. From left to right, director Jessica Hutchinson and her cast: Kerry Cahill, Miguel Nunez, Arch Harmon, Pat King.

It's exciting seeing actors tackling one of my plays, in a reading and even more so in a production. How flexible is the text? What do the voices in my head sound like when they're in someone else's body? I look forward to meeting these nice folks during their run, although I haven't figured out the exact date yet when I'm going to Chicago.

It's kind of strange to see my plays moving farther afield. I've been in contact with these folks, of course. With Tony (artistic director of Halcyon Theater) and with Jessica (director of my play) through e-mail. E-mail is wonderful. We can go back and forth, Qing and Aing. But I'm not there.

It didn't bother me -- I hardly gave it any thought -- with my short plays. I have a LOT of ten-minute plays and a few one-acts, and I blithely send them out into the world. I'm happy to hear reports back, and I love to get pictures. What fun to see what a play looks like when it's done in San Diego with two men versus in Shanghai and Los Angeles with a man and a woman versus in Canada, set in an actual book store (like Lend Me a Mentor). It's fun. I'm happy to hear reports back.

Full length plays, though... It's a little harder to let go of them. Writing a full-length play is like taking pieces of yourself and smooshing them, red and bloody, on the page. (Perhaps you discern, here, if you don't know me well, that I don't tend toward comedy-writing. ) The writing of a full-length play (the research, the writing, the readings, the rewriting) often takes a year or more to complete. No matter how fictional a full-length play is, I don't know how it *couldn't* contain a lot of the writer in it. The "giving birth" metaphor is apt. And I'm delighted, really delighted, to see my plays moving outside of myself, and going places where I've never been, and doing things beyond me. Delighted!! Just... separation anxiety, I guess. I want the best for them, you know?

Live long and prosper, little play! May these nice people in Chicago take good care of you, and have a real good time making you shine on their stage.

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