Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 196: Monday Report: "A Very Strong First Draft"

That's what my playwriting teacher said. "It is a very strong first draft."  Not "it's perfect, don't change a thing", which I never expected and know isn't true, but very strong.  I like that.

We focused the session on what I should listen for in the reading next week, rather than on specifically what and how I should rewrite.  He felt I didn't have enough distance yet; that I need to spend a little time away from the play before I'll be able to see clearly what is working and what isn't.  I'm glad he gave me this advice, as I was planning to dive right into rewrites.  But instead my homework is to immerse myself in other plays, reading or re-reading good scripts.   This exercise will not only fill my head with examples of good material, but also get me into the mindset of reading a script that someone else wrote.  That way, hopefully I can look at my script -- and especially hear my script on Monday -- as if it were a play someone else wrote.  When it comes to the prospect of killing some of your babies -- i.e. cutting lines or scenes or characters you are attached to -- it definitely helps to have some distance.  So this morning I cracked out one of my very favorite plays: Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare.

Whatever shall I do with a whole week of not writing?  This weekend I was almost at a loss.  But somehow I managed to fill the time.  Amongst some more mundane tasks, I rode my bike; I took myself to the most fabulous little local Italian restaurant where the owner fawned over me and made me feel like I was back in Italy; I got my toes done;  I took myself to a movie (the Kids Are All Right - great acting piece); I watched more Veronica Mars. I look forward to a week of more of that kind of thing:  of reading, of seeing friends, of bike-riding, of beach-going (and of course working and teaching and preparing for the reading next week).  Of spending a week basking in the knowledge that I have written a very strong first draft.  Damn, that feels good.
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