Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Reading at 45

Let it be said. I was nervous. Not in a "this might be total crap" way - but rather in a "I hope that this isn't mediocre" way.

I met Wayne at the space round 3pm-ish which gave us plenty of time to be nervous and slightly overwrought together. It was fairly stark in there, as you would expect, but Wayne had set the stage up as per our rehearsals and the spacing was pretty good. Better than I expected, for some reason I had thought that it would be much smaller and that the actors would be squeezing past each other.

It was roomy. Fairly roomy.

We were booked out too, BTW. They had overbooked the room, which fits 120, so were hoping that approx 10 people weren't going to show. Given that it was a free event, I figured that there would be a 20% drop off.

The cast were all there by 5.30pm and we ran a top and tail, to check that the actors weren't going to fall over the chairs and that the copious sex scenes were blocked just enough to make them look, if not semi legit, then not stupid.

The room was filled to capacity (120) and I saw a lot of faces that I know in the audience, and a bunch that I didn't. I sat in a crap seat because I had to read a couple of V/O lines and didn't want to be distractingly in the middle of the audience pretending to be Arabella.

It went well. Very well. As I watched there were a few "cringy" moments for me. Lines I wish that I'd cut and a few annoying pieces of repetition. I was busy running my pen through my script as the show rolled on. But there were lots of delightful moments. It's funnier than I expected, which was marvellous. Quite clearly the audience needed the laughs and it was great to see where they appeared.

In particular they were snorting and hooting away during the sex, which I think is probably the impulse that most of us have when faced with sex, which is an innately hilarious act. 

Because the material is heavy it seemed to me that there could have been more of these touches of levity, not endless injections of laughs (and sex) but rather a few more judicial moments of respite. The audience responded overwhelmingly! I had lots of very generous commentary and such positive energy about the piece, the actors and the directing. 

I was really pleased with the actors, they were so focussed and powerful and each has made their role their own. They made me very proud. The first draft would not have been finished without them.

There was a question and answer afterwards where the questions indicated lots of good will for the piece. People seemed genuinely moved and interested in the story. People used phrases like "layered", "complex, but not complicated" etc.

I was forced to admit that I initially began writing the play because Wayne had asked me to write something to use up a set that he'd built. Of course it had changed it's whole reason for existence since then, and doesn't fit in the set either, ironically. But still, it's not an inspiring story.

A large number of us went for drinks after and it was great to hear more relaxed feedback. In all, I came away with a great feeling about the piece. I think that it could really be a great play. Really special and I don't feel  like that is very far out of my grasp now.

Thanks to all that came. Rhonda inches closer and closer to be truly "finished"...

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