Saturday, March 9, 2013

Play With Your Food

It's a clever title, "Play with your Food" --  series of play readings, mostly new plays, at 7:00 with light food available at 6:30 -- free play, cheap food.  Good idea! -- ?? Is it?

Most theatre companies--and in this case the theatre department of a two year college-- present briefly rehearsed readings of scripts for small audiences.  The pretense is that they are helping playwright's develop his/her work.  I call it pretense because I've been involved in too many of these undertakings and have never found it helpful, whether for me in my own writing or for other writers in their work.

The dirty little secret is that it's a project that impresses grant makers who haven't a clue what might be helpful to a playwright, nor do they know what can educate or entice an audience.  I've known all this for a great many years. So why did I take leave of my senses and submit a set of ten-minute plays to the local drama department for their series?  In short, I wanted to gain some validity with new acquaintances for my literary background.  So last night I heard five short plays read before an audience that was surprisingly large for the kind of wet, cold, awful wintery night that it was.  All the plays were comedies, of a black humor sort with much irony and rather causal deaths at the end of some. None were new.  None will be revised because of this experience.

The audience laughed at all the right times  For all the wrong reasons.  Eons ago my allegiance moved from community theatre to regional professional theatre and then to simply professional theatre. It's as if one moves from hot dogs to expensive hamburgers to fillet Mignon. You might still have  taste for a hotdog now and then but you know the difference. The performance was hot dogs smothered in mustard, ketsup, relish and onions.  In short badly hammed up.  Well, I have no one but myself to blame, I knew better but my ego needed this ... well, whatever it was.  Writers, be they playwrights, novelists, essayists, journalist, poets or anything in between do a lot of compromising because we don't believe we are communicating if our material doesn't reach a public -- and we're right.  So these days we self-publish, we write blogs, we submit stuff to on-line outlets, whatever. 
 blog is about having hit the Big 7-0 and truly, I'm too old for this.  I learned my lesson, I hope. And I suppose I gained what I wanted to gain, the reputation of being a playwright.  Oh, it's very complicated, intellectually and emotionally, so we'll leave it there.  It won't happen again.



Liked your analogies. You use food for rating bad to good and I use numbers. Funny how we all seem to rate our experiences. My thoughts are that all experiences give us a bit of good even if we don't realize it at the time. -- barbara

June Calender said...

Thanks Barbara.I must admit I don't always rate things by food but it seemed appropriate given the name of the event. The experience was good in so far as I learned or relearned a lesson. And, in fact, people were entertained.359

Ladydy5 aka: Diane Yates said...

June, were you happy with the reaction to yours?

June Calender said...

Diane, the reaction I'm happy with because people laughed and enjoyed. The quality of the reading I was not happy about.