Last night was the auditions for the Festival of New Plays at Mendocino College. I finally got to meet the director who chose my play and together we would try to decide who would be a good choice for the parts of Chris and Laura. My Muse came along, wearing a stunning vintage 40's black skirt and red blouse with a black beret. The outfit made her look straight out of a Film Noir located in Paris. She sat behind me and whispered her opinions of the actors.
"Too young. He needs to be closer to 40 than 21."
"I like her, but I wonder if she can play Laura with the stern sultriness you wrote?"
"Ugh! Where's the proverbial cane to grab that guy off the stage?"
"Oh he's cute!"
"She's wonderful. A bit young, but she could probably play older."
The actors were auditioning for all seven plays, so the process took three hours. A long night for everyone, but I was impressed by the energy of the actors and the focus of the directors. As I watched them, I began to get nervous. I realized how quickly my little play about lost love and lust could very easily fall into a soap-opera if the characters are not played by skilled actors. One of the men was excellent, but so young. Would he be able to understand the depth of regret in my play? The director and I talked about my fear and she admitted to the same feeling. She's actually more nervous than I. As the director it's all on her shoulders to make or break the play. I'm glad I only wrote the thing!
My Muse was impressed. "I think the director will be fabulous and the play will bring tears to the eyes of the audience."
I said, "It's not supposed to be depressing."
"I know, and it's not. But I think the director will manage keep the actors away from melodrama and the honesty of the play will touch everyone who sees it." She straightened her beret and smiled. "Trust me."
The director and I also talked about how involved I wanted to be in the process. I explained that I'd like to come to the first rehearsal to hear it read so I can make any necessary changes (I already heard two lines from the two pages they used for the auditions I want to fix). Mainly though, this is her baby now. A play is a constantly evolving, transforming entity. I have to let go and allow the director and actors to create what they see from my words and to try to hold on to my original vision is counterproductive. Of course, I have no intention of rewriting it to fit an idea that is outside the play. But how much she wants to up the sexual tension or cut it back is entirely up to them. I'm curious to see what the actors will do as they make the characters their own.
My Muse is eager for me to get back to work on my Script Frenzy play.
"Imagine how it will be to watch your full length play on stage. Thrilling, yes?"
Before that can happen, I'd better finish it. Now if I only had the time. People don't need sleep, right?