Page to Stage Indeed!

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Greetings, loyal reader.  We at The Inkwell are taking a breath after completing our Fall Inkreading Series at Woolly Mammoth.  We had such a blast working with all of our playwright and exploring some incredibly fascinating plays.  Thanks to all of you that worked on the Inkreading Series with us and to everyone who came out to explore these plays with us.

We'll be catching you up on all sorts of play making over the next several weeks, as we post reflections from the playwrights, directors, dramaturgs, and designers who have worked with us over the past several months.

And here are some more thoughts from the lovely and thoughtful Rebecca Bossen.  We produced an excerpt of her play, Blue Straggler, at The Kennedy Center's Page to Stage festival on Labor Day.

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I am not someone who is comfortable just throwing my work out there. I’m more of the “I’ll show you after the next draft. Or maybe the next one” variety. Writing is about 11 percent of my process; the rest is tinkering, editing, deleting, staring out the window, deleting more, doubting myself, moving scenes around, editing more, singing to my cats, and eating chocolate in the name of research (or so I tell myself).

Like most writers, I will do almost anything to avoid the actual creative process of writing.

For me, this aversion comes not from laziness but from a deep primal fear of the blank page. For the showcase reading of an excerpt of my play, Blue Straggler, we were encouraged to choose a scene that was interesting and problematic and required more investigation. Very good advice.  Using my own private set of criteria, I chose the scene from my play that had the most favorable “actual writing” to “eating chocolate” ratio.

Then something very strange happened.

People started asking me good questions. My director, my dramaturg, my actors, the Inkwell staff –everyone who had devoted time to exploring the emerging world of Blue Straggler had something insightful to say. Their curiosity sparked my own set of questions, so there was only one thing I could do.

Moved by this spirit of supportive and nonjudgmental inquiry, I wrote.

Despite all of my perfectionist tendencies, I brought an unedited, two-hour-old monologue into the rehearsal room. A few days later, it was performed in front of a packed room at The Kennedy Center. Page to Stage, indeed!

As I’m writing this new draft of the play, I’m finding that something has fundamentally changed. The play itself, certainly. The relationships are a thousand times clearer, the rules of the world more established. The biggest change by far, though, is in how I feel when I sit down to write. My heart still speeds up, I still fidget before my fingers hit the keys, and I have a brownie next to me (it really is a crucial aspect of the play, I swear!). But there’s only one question in my head today, and it isn’t whether or not what I write will be good, or will it be produced, or should I have gone to law school like my uncle told me to. It’s simply, “I wonder what’s going to happen in here today?” And I am genuinely excited to find out.

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This is the monologue that Rebecca wrote while working with The Inkwell crew.

In Blue Straggler, Lisa is a grief-stricken astronomer, paralyzed by the loss of her lover, Clarissa.  She's trying to find a way to gain access to the multiple universe, to find where Clarissa may have gone, to get an answer to why Clarissa left.

LISA

124. One two four. If you add 9 plus 13 plus 15 plus 22 plus 5 plus 25 plus 15 plus 21, you get 124. Which is interesting. Because the next obvious number in the one two four series is eight, which is exactly the number of letters in the phrase itself. And every number in the one two four eight series is a power of two. The power of two.

I worry sometimes that you don’t understand me.

I don’t understand everything, either. I didn’t understand the power of two before you. And I didn’t understand how infinite infinity is until I felt the infinite difference between two and one.

You asked me to write you a love letter once. Now, I keep trying but all I have is the numbers. It’s elegant the way they fold together like that, though, isn’t it? You liked it when I showed you things that worked out that way. You know what I mean. When the numbers seems to be in a million pieces and then bit by bit, rule by rule, they get organized into one shining answer. That’s what I’m looking for now and this silly code is the closest I can get. So I keep saying it over and over to myself. “I” is 9, “l” 13, “o” 15, “v” 22, “e” 5, “y” 25, “o” 15, “u” 21…over and over again like a mantra. Over and over and around and around and I hope to God you’re hearing this somehow. 124. I’m no good at love letters, but maybe you’ll take a love number instead?

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by The Inkwell published on November 16, 2010 10:17 AM.

Looking back on a Blue Straggler was the previous entry in this blog.

The Designer's Imagination - Clementine and the Cyber Ducks is the next entry in this blog.

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