Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Huntington Workshop of Flight was a big success

The past two weeks really flew by as I workshopped my play, Flight, with the Huntington Theatre Company.  Talk about intense.  I was in rehearsal pretty much every other day from 10-6, and then on my off days, I was either writing or at the farm all day.  To find the time to make changes in the script, I'd typically get up at 5 a.m. and work until 9 (with a break for getting Noah ready for camp) and e-mail the pages to the producer and stage manager, so they could distribute them to the actors at 10.  I'd typically bring in 20-30 pages with changes every day of rehearsal (many changes were small).

Patrick Curran, Philana Mia, Cassie Back, David Anzuelo
Our cast of Patrick Curran, Philana Mia, Cassie Beck, and David Anzuelo, were immensely talented and hard working.  Led by director Jessica Bauman, we picked our way through the play, scene-by-scene, beat-by-beat.  I wanted them to ask me hard questions about their characters and they did, with the result being a constantly improving script.

Jessica Bauman, Rachel Carpman, Bethany Ford
I'm very grateful to my director, Jessica Bauman, for all her insights and guidance, and to dramaturg Rachel Carpman, for always being ready for a new question (often it was just: "does that make sense to you?"), and to stage manager Bethany Ford for keeping the whole process running smoothly.

We had a final public reading of the script on Saturday afternoon, for an audience of about 50 people.  (Kudos to them, by the way, for being so responsive and attentive.)  I felt like the reading really kicked ass.  The actors were sharp and the audience seemed to really follow the play and the emotional roller coaster of it.  Most of all, it was gratifying to pack the script back up, after we had so thoroughly unpacked and disassembled it, and find out that not only did it still work, it actually worked a lot better than it did before.

I'm grateful to the entire staff of the Huntington for putting this Summer Workshop series together and giving four playwrights the chance to really get elbow deep into their plays, to try to find out how they work and how to improve them.  Thanks to Lisa Timmel, Charles Haugland, and Bevin O'Gara for getting the funding and making it happen, and to line producer Rebecca Bradshaw for running the workshop.

Now I need to keep making a few more changes to the script and find a way land a full production of it.  Some questions about a script can only be answered with a full production.

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