Saturday, September 29, 2012

Resurfacing after a success!

It has been quite a while since blog readers have had any new posts from me. But I had a good reason: my play Becoming Calvin had its world premiere this past month in Washington, D.C. It went quite well, and now of course, I am more determined than ever to put it on a larger stage, i.e. get it out to more professional theatre companies or colleges/universities that can produce it. For another opinion about the production, you can read this blog posted by Ruth Everhart (a terrific writer herself!).
The cast of Becoming Calvin with Jonathan Lee Taylor as Calvin

I learned so much during this process. I thought I would share a bit of it with readers of this blog. As Producing Artistic Director of the production I wore just about every hat there was. In the three years since I wrote the play I have been raising funds to get it up and running. I decided I would direct this production myself (having had some directing experience before), because we hadn't raised sufficient money to hire someone else. So I cast all the actors and hired the designers. That was lots of fun; I got to meet so many creative, vsisionary people! As the summer wore on I used the killer logo designed by a talented college student as the basis for putting together promotional materials (thank God for Vistaprint!), and the program. I tracked ticket sales. . . you get the idea. I was doing it all! And it was very instructive to see how much needed to be done.
graphic by Alexandra Pigott

Even more instructive, as my "army" of volunteers dwindled down to two dedicated souls, was how two stalwart, detail-oriented, organized people did the job of at least a dozen less self-directed folks. I was also blessed with paid talent who pitched in wherever needed, out of devotion to the project, and/or the satisfaction of doing a job well. Turns out that as a rookie "job creator" I made some very smart hiring decisions! I went with gut instincts, hiring people who not only excel as actors, stage manager, and designers, but who truly are team players. No over-sized egos (a good thing, because the dressing room was tiny!) And I will always look for that from now on: because creating a universe out of nothing, which is what we do in the theatre, has to be a collaboration. I liked being the boss, yes, and I was ready to accept responsibility for anything that went awry (nothing major did, though). For six weeks this summer I did virtually nothing but oversee every aspect of this play. But it was worth it -- because the people I worked with were fabulous.

Now I return to the solitary writer's role as I embark on the sequel, Being Calvin. I will miss the interaction with such gifted people. But as I stare at so many blank pages, I know now that there will likely be another happy ending, when this play is staged. And even if my role is reduced -- maybe I will only be the playwright -- I will be part of something greater than the sum of its parts. I believe that is what drives artists, always. And why we keep creating, one note, one brushstroke, one word at a time.

1 comment:

  1. It took much of your time and energy but, from where I sat in the audience I can say it was well worth effort.