Welcome to the Other Side

Juliet in her treehouse…yes, TREEHOUSE. Photo by Dan Lanton of Darkershadesofbrown Photography

Well, here I am, on the other side of Shakespeare in the Park, off and running with a hundred new projects (freelance proof-reading, teaching playwriting workshops, writing a YA novel…hahahaha) and it tugged at my gut a little today that I haven’t blogged in so long. Truth be told, I’ve been done with Shakespeare for a good week and a half (a successful run, by the by, entertaining almost 1,000 people over two weekends), but it is only today that I’ve felt refreshed enough to embark again on my blogging routine.

With a few minor changes. Hehehehehe. (stick with me)

Romeo sees Juliet (while dramachicky does directorial work in the background; yay dress rehearsal!) Photo by Dan Lanton of Darkershadesofbrown Photography

I think I can only handle blogging once a week – at least, mentally, it’s all I can handle right now. I enjoy blogging – I really like learning about playwrights and passing on that information to others around the world – but I’m starting to burn out a teeny tiny bit. So this is your fair warning; I will try to be consistent, but we are taking things down a notch. At least for the summer. Hey; we all need a break, right?

So what on earth will I talk about today?  Well, my title is two-fold (muah-ha! I love pretending I’m clever!) and the event that had me itching to blog today is the production of my play, Empathy.

I think I mentioned a few months back that I was one of six playwrights commissioned to write a short one-act play (mine was about 10 minutes) with no specifications EXCEPT that it must take place in a kitchen. The concept for this series – aptly entitled PLAYROOM – is the brainchild of friend and fellow playwright Matthew Hinton of Gaslight Theatre Company in Wilkes-Barre, PA (as always, not to be confused with mine and my husband’s theatre group, Ghostlight Productions, in Clarks Summit).

PLAYROOM poster designed by Jenny Hill

So back in April (I think), I wrote a play and passed it on to Matt. And then…nothing. I did nothing with it. I did not attend rehearsals, I did not help with casting, I in no way directed, acted in, or even viewed the play until its performance last weekend. This might seem like a “duh” moment to some of you, but let me tell you – this is the first time I have EVER done this. And it totally freaked me out.

Now, I’ve had my stuff “produced” before, but I’ve always had my hand in the pot. I wrote things that my husband and I performed together, or I wrote and directed (ok, and acted in) my senior project in college. But I’ve never written something, waved goodbye, and passed it on to a theatre group with no knowledge of how it might turn out. It was kind of an awesome feeling – and really, really, REALLY scary.

So last weekend, after R & J had closed (and I had cried), my husband and two of our friends piled in the car to visit King’s College Theatre where Gaslight was performing my play (and five others). I was a bit of a nervous wreck. Thank God my play was the second one to be performed because (apologies to the author) I don’t think I heard a word of the first play, I was in such a state of nerves. Then the lights go down, it’s clearly an evening setting and a man in a bathrobe shuffles into the kitchen, staring at the refrigerator with anticipation and anxiety. And I watched as the words that I wrote came to life.

WOW.  WHAT AN AWESOME FEELING!

You playwrights who have had your works produced, you know what I’m talking about. Of course there’s that fear of the unknown – what did they do with it? what did they change? who is playing this character or that character or will they completely ignore my stage directions and what if I wrote CRAP?! – but actually watching it happen…there’s something truly fulfilling knowing that you created the words, the action, the story behind what everyone sees and hears. You are the creator…I love that about being human; the ability to CREATE.  So yeah…it’s a pretty cool experience.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that moment in my little playwright’s life. In a way, it wasn’t anything huge – I did not have a full-length play produced by a professional company in a big city; I didn’t win a contest and no agents came up to me afterward and said “we love your work!”  But it was still a monumental occasion, because for the first time, someone else took my work and shared it with others. And isn’t that why we write?  Isn’t that the hope, the dream?  That someone else will look at our work and say, yes, yes…THIS is worth sharing.

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About dramachicky

I am a dramachick: a playwright, actress, director, wife, singer, reader, aunt, daughter, student, teacher, and dreamer. My husband has taken to calling me dramachicky. :-) I have my M.A. and M.F.A. in creative writing/playwriting from Wilkes University. My husband and I started a small theatre group in northeast Pennsylvania called Ghostlight Productions. I love all things theatre and I am thrilled to launch this blog as a celebration of women playwrights.
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2 Responses to Welcome to the Other Side

  1. Cindy Dlugolecki says:

    Rachel, really enjoyed this post . . . especially because I saw and was moved by your play EMPATHY at King’s College. All the plays were great, but yours stood out because it was the only drama. VERY well written, directed, and acted. I know the feeling of “letting go” of your baby and, for better or worse, the play at that time is truly out of your hands. I don’t think this feeling ever goes away. But it helps having and trusting a good director.

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