Sunday, April 12, 2009

12th April

AN APPLE A DAY opened at Oran Mor, in Glasgow, a week ago.
I was so frightened that day.
I guess part of this was fear for the actors: the script asks a huge amiount of them. They have to travel a huge distance in 55 minutes. They have to give the comedy the space it deserves; and the religious stuff; and the pathos; and the sex.
Among other things.
They had only two weeks rehearsal: mostly in Traverse 2, sometimes elsewhere, and they didn't get in to the space at Oran Mor until 9 am monday.
And the show opened at 1.00.
I was aware, not just of how difficult it was; also how much it exposed them; how they utterly depend upon each other.
This is usual for my work: it takes actors and audiences into places they've never been before.
I can say this without boasting.

But there was something else behind my fear.
Of course both characters are portraits of myself. Not in literal way, equally of course, but poetically yes. Most definitely.
A friend dreamt once, just before one of my openings, that there i was naked on the Traverse stage.
A crucial part of a playwright's skill, I think, is to be able to put yourself out there and yet defend yourse. At the same time.
To be open and closed simultaneously.

I think it had something to do with writing a part for a transsexual, feeling a bit uneasy she was a prostitute (this is a bit of a cliche) and being aware of the far more than personal dimensions of this case.
All the work I've been doing with the trans writers group has made me so aware of its public dimensions.

So i was scared of exposing myself and of misrepresenting us all.

Whether I did or not, I guess in some way it's not for me to say.

I was very struck though, as I went home on the train after a succesful opening, that watching an amazingly skilled actor portraying a transsexual woman had had a profound effect on me.
In the play, SHE is an amazing person who hates herself and does not value herself as she should.

Of course, this seemed very familiar.
As I wen home I found that having to look at her had interrupted that pattern in me. Really for the first time I stopped finding reasons for mistrusting or denigrating my work: and I felt, unequivocally, proud.

I think for the very first time.


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