Monday, March 26, 2012

And the results are in

For our April meeting, Jim has informed me that we'll need to use the back room as the stage will be needed for the Six Women Playwriting Festival rehearsals. We met in the back room for our November meeting, when we were bumped by the FourPlay rehearsals.

Now the back room is a perfectly serviceable area, and I don't mind using it when we need to. But I think a large part of the appeal of the MAT is having a stage to perform on. It just feels more--I don't know--theatrical.

It's possible that we could get the stage if we're flexible about our meeting day. But don't worry. I would never move it from Monday. That just seems to work so well for everyone.

But what if we moved it to the third Monday? Or even the first or fourth Monday?

The only problem there is that I've posted our meetings on several web sites, such as PeakRadar and I've always stated that our meetings are the second Monday of the month. So there's always a risk that we might miss out on new members.

On the other hand, I'm not aware of a single member who first learned of our group from one of those sites. It's all been from this blog or word-of-mouth.

So I sent a quick survey question to our members asking what they'd like to do.

And now, the votes are in. Four people preferred the stage. Two people preferred staying with the second Monday.

But, as usual, numbers don't tell the whole story. The people who preferred the stage tended to be passionate about it. The people who preferred the second Monday were willing to go with the crowd. (I'm mildly pro-stage but did not include my vote in the total.)

So I think we'll try experimenting with moving the meeting, at least for a month or two.

Of course, I'll have to talk to Jim first as it's his and Birgitta's theater and they've been more than generous in letting us use the space for free. So until I hear back from him, we're still on for April 9.

But I'll let you know through this blog, Facebook and email as soon as I get the okay to change it (if I get the okay to change it).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How the experiment worked

Last night, we had one of our best meetings yet. We had an enthusiastic fourteen participants, including one new writer and three new actors. And the newbies hit the ground running, with each of them taking part in at least one of the readings.

And talk about an inclusive group. We had people from their teens to their 50's.

We read three pieces: part 3 of my full-length mystery-comedy, "The Butler Did It!", a rewrite of Tim Phillips' short comedy "King Solomon Gets Horny" and Paula Buist's short comedy "Cherry Blossoms in the Rain".

Our experiment worked reasonably well. Even though I got the scripts out late (writers never stop tinkering), nearly all of the cast members were able to read them ahead of time. And the reading went much smoother. There was less stumbling over lines and nearly everyone seemed to have a solid grasp of their characters.

The one thing I missed was laughter from the cast. Normally, I know a joke works if the cast cracks up when they first come to it in the script. In this case, the cast was already familiar with the jokes, so there were fewer laughs to begin with.

On the other hand, it could be my script. Maybe it just wasn't that funny.

Anyway, I think the experiment worked well enough that I'd like to try it again. And this time I promise to get the scripts out a full week before.

Monday, March 5, 2012

An experiment

I'd like to try something new this month. Some of the actors have told me that they'd like to get the scripts ahead of time--maybe around a week--so that they can be better prepared for the reading.

I think this is a good idea. Reading the script at home will help the actors understand where each role fits into the bigger picture, enabling them to figure out how to play their part in the first place. And it'll give the actors more face time with the story, and this should help them uncover more flaws in the plot or inconsistencies in the characters.

Of course, some playwrights may not want their works made so easily available on the Internet. I understand this. No one wants their work stolen.

But one thing I've learned is that you don't want to be overly protective of your work. If you want it to have a life of its own, you've got to send it out into the world. And besides, the risk of having a play ripped off is more remote than people think. Every writer I've ever met wants their own work to succeed, not someone else's.

So let's give it a shot and see how it works.

If you're an actor and you're planning on coming to the next meeting, send me an email. I'll send you a PDF of each script.

If you're a writer and would like to participate, email me the pages you're planning to share (either a Word or PDF file will work) and I'll take care of sending them out to the interested parties.