BloomingPlays ends

May 22, 2010

Tonight marks the end of the BloomingPlays experience for me. I just got back from the cast party (thanks to Gabe and Brett for hosting!), even though there are 2 more performances to go.

Overall it was a very positive experience. I learned a lot; chiefly, I am not a playwright! That takes a special kind of writer and that I am not.

It was fun and frustrating to hear the final reading of our play the other night. Fun in that the fabulous actresses (Holly and Margot) brought so much intensity to the script and frustrating in that we still didn’t get the equality of the characters that we were going for. That tells me that there’s something lacking in the script, rather than something lacking in the acting.

I’m a bit miffed about how the process ended up. We were told before the final workshop which shows were going to be produced, so it was kind of a letdown to try and bring enthusiasm to the last two written iterations of the script.

Then, when it came time for the festival itself, it was presented as four plays. They got all the PR. No one knew about the free readings of the other 4 plays (Caretakers among them) that happened Wednesday night. The complete info wasn’t even on the home page of the website.

The email promos were little better, with the name of our play wrong and the synopsis uncorrected.

But most painful of all was reading the program tonight and seeing no mention of our play or of ourselves as playwrights. I thought we were part of the BloomingPlays series. Apparently only the 4 produced plays were considered part of the series. The readings were just considered something…else. They don’t fit in to any category.

Enough bitching. It was good to work with Lori and it was spectacular to go through the workshopping process. I learned a lot. And I stand in awe of those real playwrights who are able to create actual theatre with their work. Thanks to the BPP for making it all happen!


Caretakers staged reading 19 May

May 12, 2010

Finally, after years of development, Lori’s and my play Caretakers will receive a choreographed reading on Wednesday, 19 May at 8pm at the Bloomington Playwrights Project. I’m not sure if “choreographed” includes Busby Berkley routines, but it would certainly create some interesting theatre. The event is FREE!

Sisters Rose and Pam are estranged after a complicated childhood. The illness of their mother brings them together. But what ensues is something neither expected.

Intrigued?? I hope so. Our play will be read along with Things to Believe In by Josie Gingrich & Gayle Gingrich (an interesting investigation of what motivates people to do good) and The Good Daughter by Brenda Hiatt Barber (an amusing snapshot of family competition at its best).

All the pieces have been extensively workshopped and are really good. So please come out and enjoy the goodness! (Did I mention it’s free?)

For more info, see newplays.org. Thanks!


Divas and other such

January 15, 2010

Last night I had the good fortune to see Grateful Divas rehearse their upcoming show. Rebecca Keith had invited me to come in and give some feedback. There was so much talent on the stage that I hardly knew what to say! I gave my notes and they very graciously accepted them.

The show is very sweet—a cabaret chronicling the different stages of women’s lives through spoken word and (sometimes altered) Broadway tunes. It’s a fundraiser for Cardinal Stage Company and  will really resonate with and entertain the audience. I hope to see the dress rehearsal next week (I have to miss the actual performances).

In other news, I went through the feedback from the final workshop round of BloomingPlays. After several iterations where everyone was focused on the sisters, now suddenly everyone’s focused on the mom! And she’s not even in the scene! Augh, the life of an artiste (back of hand to forehead)!

We have about a month to make revisions before handing in the final script. Some of the feedback called for pretty dramatic changes—such as throwing out the whole beginning of the script—so I don’t know what the end result will be. It depends in part on what Lori wants to do, too.

What is nice is that we do seem to have captured the issues surrounding caring for an aging parent. There was a couple in the audience last Saturday that hadn’t heard the play before and they seemed quite moved by it. When asked for initial reactions to the play, the gentleman just said, “Truth.”

It’s easy, in the midst of so much critique, to lose sight of the things that are working.

In other other news, I received a letter—a real letter—from my friend LC today! What a surprise. It was great to hear from him but I’m afraid his life circumstances aren’t tip-top at the moment. My evil side noted that the paper and envelope were black-edged—at some point in some culture, black-edged paper indicated death. So the note had a funereal tinge to it. Sort of Edward Gorey.

In other other other news, I’m continuing to evaluate my creative life and trying to determine what’s next. That’s hard to do when I’m not sure what is. Recent experiences have left me very chastened in relation to my talents, and I fear that my best creative work is behind me. Part of me says that’s just because I don’t have the right impetus, but the fearful part of me just grieves and whimpers. It’s a lonely world inside me sometimes.

Now I’m going to look for traces of an old friend. All I have is her ghost.


Caretakers verdict in

December 3, 2009

Caretakers (formerly Kindred), the short play that Lori and I wrote, survived its second table reading at the BPP’s BloomingPlays series. The feedback was much more enthusiastic than the first reading, so we must have done something right in our re-write!

What was interesting to watch was how vested audience members were in either character. There are only two characters in the play and we’ve created them to be relatively equally sympathetic. That leaves audience members rooting for one or the other, sometimes vehemently.

The play revolves around the decision to bring Mom (who’s just had a stroke) back into her home and have Pam move in and take care of her. Pam’s sister Rose is willing to handle the financial and logistical details from afar (she lives in another state) if Pam will give the hands-on care. Pam doesn’t want to give up her life to take care of Mom—but neither does Rose. What’s a caring daughter to do?

All the plays in the workshop series were supposed to be read once more in January, but new artistic director Chad Rabinovitz decided to cut it short. He cut one play from the series, chose two that will receive full productions, and chose two that will receive staged readings. Caretakers falls into that last group.

Lori and I are disappointed that we don’t get another shot at development, but what’s a playwright to do in this sitch? We’re now faced with the question of whether to do another re-write of the play. Re-writes are due 03 January—closing night of Sound of Music. (I’m nunning and Lori’s stage managing.) With the heavy workload of rehearsals and performances this month, I just don’t see how we’ll have the time to do any more.

I guess I’m also irritated because we were told from the start that plays would be selected for development in part based on the playwrights’ participation in the process. Both Lori and I have been there as much as we can—hours and hours of munching on tortilla chips and sneaking raspberry danishes. The other playwrights have done just as much, so perhaps this is a moot point. Overall I feel like we were told one thing in the beginning and now we’re hearing something else mid-process. This is likely due to budgetary issues which Chad alluded to, but it still bugs me. I like Pam and Rose and would have liked to have seen the next phase of their development. Harumph.


Recent arts stuff

October 26, 2009

It’s been a busy week for Diva Adaire. Last Saturday, Lori and I got together to go over our script for Kindred, now renamed Caretakers. We sat side-by side and went over each line. She typed in the new material while I navel-gazed. I think the piece is much stronger, though we’ll only know at the next reading (mid-November-ish).

Then Sunday brought the first meeting for Sound of Music. Have I mentioned that I made the second-cut auditon for Sound of Music? I am (ahem) a nun. Again. I should invest in a wimple.

Anyway, the meeting laid out the vision for how to work in a professional environment. Randy White, director of Cardinal Stage, was friendly but firm. We got to hear the circumstances under which one might be dismissed—yeeks. I guess we do similar stuff when going over ground rules in Kaia, but it’s scary to be on the other side of the table. I know this is going to be a great opportunity for me to sharpen my skills.

Wait, Cardinal was on Saturday. It doesn’t matter. Sunday was the VOCO show, which Kaia opened for. That was exciting. The audience was small but appreciative. It wasn’t our best work—Amy had some nasty bug and all of us were pretty much exhausted. But we gave it our best and had the pleasure of singing in the sanctuary of the UU church. Beautiful acoustics. I Love Everybody almost blew the walls down.

Then Tuesday night was the VOCO workshop at Malcolm Dalglish‘s house. He served gumbo and pear pie. I skipped the food but appreciated the gesture. Made it all very homey and a great start to the evening.

The workshop was better than many I’ve been to. They sang a few numbers first. Then Moira did this call and response thing where she sang little snippets of music from every freaking corner of the world and we sang it back. She is amazingly gifted.

We learned Bring Me a Little Water, Sylvie by Leadbelly as arranged by VOCO. Learned a little of a Hungarian (?) piece. Did some cool improv exercises which I want to try out with Kaia. Then some body percussion, which I had no chance of learning due to the exhaustion of my brain! I’d had enough by that point and couldn’t take in any more.

Today met with Pat Anderson, the facilitator of Caretakers, to talk about our creative vision for the piece. Lori is involved in twelve million things as usual—I don’t know how she does it all! We talked over the play and what direction might be given to the actresses. As we talked, I thought more and more about how the script could be changed to make the dialogue more realistic and the action more tight. I hope the feedback is positive.

I enjoy being this active in creative spheres. I’ve noticed, though, that I’m a bit burned out on Kaia stuff. I feel like “we have this repertoire, now let’s sing it.” I’m not interested in arranging new stuff or seeking out new music. I just want to perform perform perform.

Another thing I noticed during the whole Cardinal audition process is that auditions are really bad for me. 🙂 I get very depressed afterwards, sometimes for days. I feel like I’ve blown the audition even though I do the best I can. I do my best but then feel like it can’t be good enough. That my best days are behind me (that’s a big theme). I feel too old to do anything meaningful anymore. My hope with Cardinal is that I’ll build up my confidence some. Oh, and I’m also studying voice with Rebecca Keith now, so that’s another piece of sharpening up my skills and building confidence. I hope it all works. Auditions suck.