Monday, May 11, 2009

I woke up at 5 am this morning!

I could not sleep a moment longer, that's because I napped too long yesterday afternoon. You can only sleep so much in a day and at 5 am I had had all the sleep I could sleep. So I am up ready to go.
I am thinking about my play, Prince from Saturn. More than 15 years ago I had revised it after the production and sent it to the Arizona State Theater Company. Someone whipped it back to me so fast my head spun. That kind of discouraged me. This was a play about being Arizona poor. A play about the disabled and poor class I somehow did not think would appeal to any out of state theater companies either, but if theater companies are not interested in what happens to a playwright whose health gets impaired as well as a learning disabled schizophrenic what are they interested in?
That was a puzzle to me. I now have five of my full length plays up on Youtube that I was never able to get produced by a theater company. Only one, my son's Playwright Workshop Theater Company, ever produced my plays, two of them, Prince from Saturn and Happy Hello, Sad Goodbye. I have written other plays as well.
The conclusion I draw from this is that theater companies who will want to do your plays do not exist. Theater companies exist all right, but they have playwright friends whose plays they want to produce, not yours. They don't even know you. Their artistic directors have come up through the ranks of becoming a director of a big theater company. The Arizona State Theater Company is regional. Their productions are staged in both Tucson and Phoenix. Those in charge of hiring naturally wanted a good experienced artistic director with great credentials. He weasn't going to be from here. He might even have a national reputation. It might take him years to acclimate to Arizona if he wasn't from here.
To such a director I might seem like a total foreigner. I think the guy who was in charge of reading plays when I sent the company the Prince from Saturn had graduated from Yale in theater. He was looking for a director's job at a theater company and soon got one when another director here retired. Those in charge of hiring naturally wanted a director with great credentials, too. But such out of state directors tend to do plays written by playwrights they know from somewhere else. And when in doubt, a classic, a Pulitzer prize winning play, or one that has won a Tony, Broadway's highest honor, will pass muster with theater audiences.
I would venture to say it would probably take years to understand all the variables in my particular play writing, coming from Utah as I did, traveling back and forth to Los Angeles for a while, and finally settling in Phoenix going on 30 or so years. Plus I am a woman, and let us face it, there are fewer women playwrights.
So I am probably right where it was possible for me to be, after years of trying, up on Youtube but certainly not a household name in theater.
But I am still very excited about the possibilities. In this last reading I don't contend with Doc's alcoholism. I just go with my own talent, but after working with him for nearly 4 years, he was finally able to support my talent and stay out of this one because he thought it was better for the play. His alcoholism is intrusive sometimes and disturbing. But it took this long for him to fade into the back ground long enough to support me reading this play. Support. You have to have support to do anything in theater. It is very important.
I could not have read this play on camera by myself without support. In the first place I would not even have the camera. He bought the camera. He burned about fifteen copies of this reading, saying it was my best work, and that if anything could this reading would bring me success. Well, it added onto all the others we have done.
I certainly did not want an alcoholic as a partner. I would have preferred sober, but he was the only partner I could get. So you don't turn down a gift from the gods is my contention. I could work on his alcoholism as we worked on the plays. In fact, the plays were his therapy, but he is a very stubborn case. Very trying at times I must say.
I trust that I and the theater company directors will meet some time, if not here, in the sweet bye and bye. We are bound to meet. We are in the same business. But we can't work together unles we are comfortable with each other. That takes time, a lot of time.
In the meantime you do what you can to prepare. You work on your plays. You get them out there as best you can. There are theaters in the sky. I am sure of it. I will be produced in one of them. They are waiting for me. Someday my time will come.

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