Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hot fun in the summer time

While outside temperatures shattered records--Colorado Springs hit a high of 97 degrees on Monday--the playwrights and actors of the Drama Lab enjoyed the coolness of the MAT's cozy 87-seat theatre.

I was especially pleased that with vacations and all the other activities of summer, we managed to get 13 attendees. The only problem? We ended a half hour early because we only had three scripts. But I've got some ideas to try to up that count for future meetings (more on that in a bit).

We started with a brief excerpt from Tim Phillips' latest take on fairy tales, Grimmland, this time focusing on the fascinating but little-known character of Bearskin. We followed that with the beginning of my full-length farce, Kill the Critic! And we ended with a sweetly funny Christmas story from Ohio playwright Maureen Brady Johnson, The Singular Tree of Deanna and Will.

This month, I experimented with having someone else read the stage directions for my play (thanks, Jeff!). In the past, the playwright has always read their own stage directions, but I know that when I do that, I tend to use the script as a crutch. It was very freeing for once to set down the pages and just focus on the sound of the words. It also helped me catch some problems with the dialogue that I might have missed otherwise. I highly recommend that the rest of you give it a try.

Next month, it sounds like we may have a full slate of scripts, which is wonderful. But in the interest of keeping the flow coming, I'm going to try a couple of things. One is to reach out to more playwrights from around the country to send in scripts. This may never be as satisfying as having the playwright attend, of course, but it will help in one of my main goals: obtaining enough scripts so that every actor gets to read at least once, and hopefully twice.

The other thing is that I'm going to open up readings to screenplays. Jeff Schmoyer brough a screenplay a couple months ago and it was a fun read. Next month, Roy Kieffer wants to bring a screenplay-based monologue that a friend of his wrote. Of course, as a group that gets free use of a theatre, we want to keep our focus on plays. But reading one screenplay a month should help cross-pollinate our writing and will give even more for our actors to read.

Oh, and thanks Paula for the M&M cookies. They were great!