June 26, 2008

Coming Soon at RVCBard Theater . . .

Nobody Gets AIDS.

(just a teaser for a bit of spec work I'm doing. More later.)

June 20, 2008

H/t Isaac Butler at Parabasis

On Blackness. A must-read.

Transparent creation

The Advantage of Secrecy
Devilvet responded to a post at Rat Sass with a question:
Does the concealment of process give the artist an advantage? And if so is that advantage sustainable in world devoid of private space?
To which I answer: I don't know. Or rather, I can't speak to any one else's experience with this, only my own.

For me, the secrecy surrounding my writing can feel like an advantage, but that's because I'm by nature a private person. However, if I'm honest with myself, I've often become very productive once I know who I'm writing for and what their particular concerns are. I remember working on my first play (sadly, never produced), and the main actor responded that one of the lines I wrote felt awkward and unnatural to say. I immediately replaced the line with a simple gesture.

Then again, I was rewriting, not creating from scratch.

Although I can go deeper when I'm by myself, I'm also my own worst critic, and I can stymie my own process by continually second-guessing myself. Writing, for me, is often a letting-go rather than a making-happen. But, when I know who my audience is, when I know who the performers will be, I quickly get over it and get done. For whatever reason, it never works when I strictly do it for myself. It does work when I get a little outside pressure. Or at least some outside perspective to drag me outside my head.

Isn't the Script Supposed to Come before the Production?
I suppose this puts me in a bind when it comes to production because most companies want the script complete first, and I tend to work better - rather, work period - once I know about the actors. For instance, I was pretty much stalled in writing my new play until my friend in Shanghai told me he'd be interested staging it for the performance group he belongs to there. As soon as he told me a little about the actors, I quickly overcame my anxieties about writing and finished the scene (more or less as I originally imagined it, not as a "rewrite").

Strangely enough, I think that in the past, a lot of playwrights worked like this (Shakespeare springs to mind). The only places that come close to this are playwright-oriented places (like 7-On Playwrights in Sydney and 13 Playwrights in New York) are geared toward this model, but from what I've seen, the results tend to be anything but the things people say they're tired of seeing and performing.

Go figure.

New scene

FYI, the scenes appear in the order I saved the drafts, not in the order I posted them.

June 8, 2008

Act 2, Scene 2

(Glade deep in the wilderness. We are trees surrounding it.)

Trees awaken and "transform" into dryads. Satyrs emerge from the depths of the forest. There is a freedom and energy to their frolicking - a sort of physical prayer - which has a primal rhythm to it that is by turns violent and erotic. Rabbit seamlessly flows into the merry-making. Red Riding Hood looks on. She clings to the edge of the glade, hovering between approach and retreat. Unable to hold out any longer, she joins in.

The celebration gradually becomes a frenzied blur of fighting and dancing and fucking. In the midst of this, Rabbit is seized and torn to pieces. Everyone smears Rabbit's blood on themselves - a kind of anointment - and devour Rabbit's flesh. They turn on Red Riding Hood as if trying to fuck her and eat her simultaneously. They scratch her up, tear her clothes, rip her cloak. She barely escapes. Once she is clear of them, the dryads and satyrs "disappear."

June 4, 2008

Act 2, Scene 1

Mirrors transform into Thorns that surround Snow White, who is Sleeping Beauty again. There is a jerkiness to their shifting that is creepy and zombie-like. We form the outer layer of the thorns.

PRINCE wearing a blood red cloak tries to make his way to Sleeping Beauty. Thorns writhe as they close in on him. Prince tries to leave, but Thorns have entwined around him. He tries to escape, but Thorns entangle him and stab him to death.

As Prince dies, Thorns take the cloak. They pass it to and fro, marveling at its color and texture. They handle the cloak with such care and grace that it resembles a slow dance. Some of us closest to the stage could be a part of this "dance" as well.

The cloak "floats" from Thorns to rest on Sleeping Beauty. She stirs, pulling the cloak around her.

As she awakens, Thorns become Trees. In something like a courtly dance, Trees align themselves along a narrow path. We are trees just beyond the path.

Sleeping Beauty wakes up as Red Riding Hood.

More on process

Another word about process. It's not normal for me to work in a linear fashion. My initial drafts look like bits of action, image, dialogue, plot, theory, and stray thoughts floating on a sheet of printer paper. From this raw material I forge something that resembles a scene. One of my weaknesses as a writer is my tendency to stall if I don't have everything in figured out ahead of time. I also have a habit of wanting to perfect one scene before moving on to the next. It induces a kind of paralysis in my writing, where I'm doing the same scene over and over again because I "need" it to be perfect before moving on to what happens next. As a result, I often get frustrated and down on myself then abandon whatever it is I'm working on. I think I can get trapped inside my head. I guess I need someone or something to help pull me out of that. I really want to stop sabotaging my work like this, but I'm unsure of the best way to proceed.

I suppose I should give myself permission to write about what interests me at the moment until the draft is done. So, from here on out, everything might not be in order, but it is part of the same piece.


I had a breakthrough tonight about something that was holding back my progress with this play. As it turns out (as always), I was simply making things harder for myself. I'll talk about this later after I post Red Riding Hood and/or a revision of Snow White. In a nutshell, I was falling into habitual thought patterns about what I "should" write instead of sticking to the enchantment that motivated me in the first place. I'll post more on this later, after I get the next scene(s) done.

Remind me to ask about the dream I had about Bee Bee.

June 1, 2008


Looking over the first part of the story, I'm thinking of altering some of the more erotic elements. I like them, don't get me wrong, but I think they're a bit too transparent. I think I was embellishing on my original idea instead of sticking to it and suggesting rather than being blatant.

Also, I've lately questioned the wisdom of having trees, mirrors, etc. be portrayed by actors. It might be asking too much to have so many bodies on the stage. Perhaps just having the audience (the ever-present "we" I often describe) be these things is enough.

I hope to get a draft of Red Riding Hood soon. But that's where I am now.