Tuesday, November 27, 2007

pegasus players ypf: first rehearsal

I've been working as a playwriting mentor the past few months as part of Pegasus Players Young Playwrights Festival. It's the 22nd year of the festival, but only the second year they've wrangled professional playwrights to be mentors . This year it's me, Aaron Carter, Tanya Saracho, and Lisa Dillman. We're paired with one of four winning young playwrights. Our job is to guide, inspire, teach, nudge, and to harass our young writers via e-mail, phone, and in person to help them get their scripts in tip-top shape for a full production. Each of the plays is workshopped with actors and directors. There are multiple table readings and multiple opportunities to hear revisions. It's a dream opportunity for a young writer. I'm not sure any of the young playwrights will know exactly how awesome an opportunity YPF is until it's over and done.

None of the young playwrights could attend the first production rehearsal tonight. Some had work, some had other things going on. They're all stressed-out high school students being pulled this way and that. Theatre isn't their life.

Still, it was disappointing for that not one of them could make it for the first table reading rehearsal with the company. They don't know this, but the first rehearsal is the best part of rehearsal for a writer! It's when everybody's just thrilled to be in the room. You get to meet the company, and see sketches or models of your set. Actors aren't freaking out about memorizing lines and then freaking out that you cut a line they memorized and then making you feel guilty because it was their favorite line and how could you cut that??? Directors aren't yet offering up suggested cuts, y'know, just to think about, you don't have to, but what if... Nothing's going horribly wrong. Nobody has been injured by your play. Everybody thinks you're a genius (until a favorite line is cut and the genius may be downgraded to "somewhat competent")

It was a good first rehearsal to hear all 4 plays together. I'll write more about being a mentor. It's a new experience. I suppose I could've used a "How to" manual. Trial and error and more error and breakthroughs and a bit of awesome.