Thursday, May 7, 2009

And that's a wrap.

Last Tuesday night was the last of seven performances of Daft in Death, the short play I wrote for BritBits 5, a British-themed production of nine short plays produced by the Mind the Gap Theatre Company of Manhattan. The last four shows played to a packed house and the entire run was well attended. The experience, from start to finish, was overwhelmingly positive and informative and was exactly the kick in the pants I needed. Having previously written almost exclusively for the screen, the process of writing a piece for the stage was liberating. Whereas screenwriting is always about "word economy," saying more with less, playwriting seems to be a medium where overly loquacious characters are encouraged. I have to say, not being told to "cut cut cut" is rather freeing and certainly helpful to the creative process. I was told on more than one occasion to "add add add." That's downright refreshing.

I'd also like to extend my thanks and gratitude to the many friends and coworkers who ventured out to see the production, as well as to those who were unable to make it but who shared encouraging words nonetheless. Even though I was cowering in the back of the audience on most nights, there's a certain feeling of nakedness and vulnerability in seeing something one has written performed live. It was downright excruciating the first few times. Nails were bitten, alcoholic libations were consumed. But the last performance---which also happened to be the best---was absolutely enjoyable. The short itself is imperfect. Some jokes work, some jokes don't. Still, I think on balance it was very well received and seemed to garner the biggest, most consistent laughs of the evening. Instant gratification. Kind of fun.

I also need to extend a very special thanks to my friend Mia Moreland, the brilliant actress who asked me to write something for her (repeatedly...for years) and whose continued encouragement (or nudging) finally got me to do it. I'm heavily biased in this matter, but her performance was nothing short of phenomenal. Not to get all Inside the Actor's Studio here, but it was fascinating to see her work through the character and discover elements to it that I had not considered. In terms of the "process," it was a perfect example of maintaining the integrity of the script while making it something more than what was written on the page. Mia, I cannot thank you enough. Nor can I ignore the contributions of Jason Grossman, the actor playing a bastardized version of myself, or Paula D'Alessandris, the Director in whose capable hands Daft in Death was turned over to. Thank you all so much for your hard work and dedication.

Many of you have asked me, "now what?" The short answer is that I've begun work on a full-length play---not content for a mere 12 minutes of limelight, of course. Assuming it turns out decent, I hope to pull together enough financing to stage a production of it sometime within the next year. It's ambitious, so who knows what will happen along the way, but there you have it. Below are some production stills from the play, and in a separate post I'll put up a video or two to give you a taste of what it was like. If anyone is interested in seeing the script, let me know and I'll forward it along to you.

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