The 99 Diaries – Entry #14: Here We Go…

We are officially producing a play, my friends.

From now on, I’ll be updating about this process every week – even after long rehearsals, frustrations, triumphs, whatever…for reals.  Here’s what has been going on over the past month:

1. My second garage sale went very well – it’s amazing the amount of money you can make by selling people’s unwanted junk. I’ll be having a third and final one in November and then of course I have to find the time to sort through all those Playboys I was given…and see what I can get for them.

2. FINISHED HUGE REWRITES – most of this didn’t occur until I had scheduled a reading and had a a group of people actually promise to be there – at which point I freaked out and plowed right through it.  Terrified I wouldn’t have a good enough script to read, and frustrated that I had carried around a copy of the script with me for the past three weeks, as if the rewrites would happen through an osmosis process of some sort, I was determined to finish all the major overhauls I had been planning…plus I wrote a bunch of new stuff.  Including a monologue about Jello – which was rather surprising.  I don’t know what it is about me and writing about food.

3. I had a “public” reading at the theater – this was really great because not only did I have wonderful actors reading, but I had about five people listening from the audience.  What was particularly great was the different perspectives in the room – some had read the first version of the script we did a reading of in June, some had heard only a scene or two, and others hadn’t read it at all.  People had great feedback, most of which I’m going to incorporate in the coming month, and I had a completely renewed energy about the whole project.  YEAH.

4. My designers are on board! The great and powerful lighting designer

This is a photo of the set from the original production in 2007…when we did the whole thing on $300 and built the counter out of stolen (I mean recycled) particle board.

Rebecca Bonebrake and the wonderful Sean Kozma are on board.  And thanks to the recommendation of Emily Weisberg, I have a talented set designer, Bryan Forrest, and I’ll be meeting soon with the talented Virginia VandenBerg to do the costumes (thanks to Bryan’s recommendation).  When Bryan mentioned she was actually excited about the prospect of there being a sea monkey in the show…I knew I had to talk with her.  🙂 It was  very important for me to get my design team in place and working early for a couple reasons: 1) I think that design in 99-seat theaters often takes a back seat and is sometimes almost an afterthought of the production, which I think is a shame.  Design is a huge part of the process and final product, and I didn’t want to short change this production by not getting the process started right away.  2) Since I’m now directing this show as well as being the playwright, I want as many new ideas in the mix as early on as possible – because frankly, who wants to see a show that is made completely of only my ideas?  Not me.

5. Which brings me to this: I’m directing this play.  I was trying to be a good playwright at the beginning by wanting to get a different director.  There are lots of reasons why I’ve chosen to direct it myself, but an important one is that the script, until right now, was not really in a place to ask for help.  It’s still progressing and still new, and it feels right for me to let it fully develop under my watch.  For it to develop further after this production, I think it would be essential for an outside director to take over, but this production, as part of the show’s development, is okay for me to watch over.  However, knowing what I know about the DANGERS of a playwright directing her own work, I’ve already begun to ask people to sit in on rehearsals at different times during the process, so I can constantly get outside feedback in order to keep me on track.  Again, I don’t want it to ONLY be my ideas.

Up Next: auditions.

I’ve put casting calls out on Actors Access as well as the Eclectic Company Theatre, so I have a good list of people auditioning this coming week.  We’ll see how it goes.  Casting is always fun – its like putting together a puzzle, and if you do it right, everything else falls pretty easily into place.

Will the sea monkey costume look like this? Only time will tell…
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One thought on “The 99 Diaries – Entry #14: Here We Go…

  1. Oh my gosh! How exciting! I cannot wait to see it in January, Ms. Director! Also, that set brings back memories. Wow.

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