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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The New Production Blues

Production, even production of something as simple as a staged reading, can become all-consuming. There are so many details, and without a producer, they all fall on my shoulders. Finding a pianist; booking rehearsal space; booking the space for the reading; emailing all the women in the cast their scripts and songs; sending out begging missives in the hope that family, friends, or even complete strangers might take an interest in the show and send some money to help defray expenses, or at least come to see it. Then there are announcement fliers to be made. And don’t forget parting with some treasured ukuleles to fund this entire venture beyond what people send me, which now is less than meager. But it is something – one person reached out to help, so far.

Oh, poor unknown playwright! Your life needs monetizing!

Oh, poor unknown playwright! Your life needs monetizing!

It becomes a major exertion of willpower to practice music every day, or any day while this is going on.

And the end result of this rushing and moaning will be what? Will anyone like the show? Will someone step up and produce it in an Off Broadway run? Or even Off off Broadway? Will anyone even show up? The thing that keeps me going is the fact that deep inside I believe – I believe the show is timely and I believe it is the best thing I’ve ever written. I believe for the first time ever I’ve really hit my stride. I believe in me as a dramatist.

Am I delusional? Possibly. But what does it matter? I’ve put every iota of my knowledge of theater craft and music into this piece. The fact that it gets done at all in any form whatsoever – that has to be my reward, or at least my greatest expectation. I’ve surely learned not to expect hits, and to know that even a critical hit means nothing if the theater bigwigs and/or their minions, whose parents bought them an education so that they can sit in judgment over the efforts of creative people, if they don’t come and judge it worthy, or judge it all. Not being judged, whatever the outcome, is the worst. Audiences loving something is the best, but the best is not always enough.

Has the theater in America become a herd of scared sacred cows?

Writing a new piece is out of the question until “CafĂ© Lysistrata” is begun to be realized. Even writing a blog post dwelling on one or more of my past efforts becomes a seemingly insurmountable task, for the moment anyway. That’s what these upcoming staged readings are about – realization.

Oh, poor unknown playwright, sing the blues but keep your all chips on the table.

Oh, poor unknown playwright, sing the blues but keep your all chips on the table.

1 comment:

  1. In retrospect, this was NOT the best piece I've written. Far from it. It was the first (and so far only) musical for which I wrote book, score and lyrics.

    However, it doesn't hold a candle to Ukulele Land.