Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Back from DC

I had a great time workshopping Constant State of Panic with Madcap Players this weekend. Between the friends who hosted me and the well-run weekend events, I felt very well cared for. We've got a terrific cast, who were game to try whatever Gary (the director) and I asked of them, and they asked very useful questions about the play and their characters. Now that I'm home, if I can escape from what seems to be a growing pile of work and papers and meetings, I have a bunch of revisions that need to be made. I'm hoping to be done in about two weeks (fingers crossed).

A few random bits from the weekend:

--I was thrilled to have a production design meeting on Sunday morning with the sound designer, costume designer, and fight choreographer/movement coach. After the Playwriting in 3D workshop this spring (and the next one we're organizing for January), our conversation had a special resonance for me.

--I was pleasantly surprised to learn that we'd even have a movement coach. It makes a ton of sense for this particular play, but just because something makes sense doesn't always mean it's put into action.

--I learned how very useful it is to have a stage manager on hand while you're workshopping a play. I've done these sorts of development intensive weekends before, but this one was even more organized that usual (which has great appeal for yours truly) on the logistics end. On Saturday, Tarythe, our rehearsal stage manager was on hand to take notes and keep us on schedule for the entire day. The notes were e-mailed to the necessary folks that evening. For me, I found that this was reassuring to know that if I missed something, I'd still have a way to remember what was said. And now that I've seen the notes, I can see that they'll be especially helpful as I enter the rewrite phase. I took my own notes, but these complement them well. It was also helpful to have someone keeping watch on the clock, because when the writer and director are having the actors try various incarnations of scenes, it's easy to lose track of time, and folks can get worn out. I liked knowing someone was keeping an eye on us and also making sure we stayed fed and hydrated.

--I brought a video camera to tape a bunch of the scene work we did, especially times when we had the actors improv, with the idea that I can have it with me at home next week, when my memory might have grown a little fuzzy about exactly how things went. I'm curious to see how much of it I actually end up watching (I have about 90 minutes on tape). This might end up being a useful revision tool for me.

I can't wait to see the show when it's fully mounted in January.

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