Thursday, November 17, 2011

Back in rehearsals: and a memory

This is my second day back in TREE OF LIFE rehearsals.

It’s been an extraordinarily happy and productive day. Like all the others.

We’re now at the stage where we all know the play pretty well; and we can all co-operate on the business of making the changes that need to be made to make it better.

It’s such a joyful process.

I’m struck by the extraordinary change in me since I was last in Traverse rehearsals.

That was way back in 1992, or LIGHT IN THE VILLAGE.

I happen to think that’s one of my best plays; but I can remember before the readthrough had even begun one of the actors coming up to me in great agitation and saying:
“I can’t say this line”.

It was the first line in the play:
“The story begins”.

“What’s my motivation?” he asked.
“To tell a story"
“Where am I coming from?”
“Off stage”.

He hated that. He was completely stuck in realism, and wanted me to remove all the story-telling aspects of the play.

I refused. He left the cast.

Soon after that, another cast member left. “Too difficult” he said.

And soon after that, I came down with pneumonia.

I felt guilty about it all; it was all my fault, i kept thinking, for being such a difficult writer.

”I could not appreciate myself at all. Only years later did I begin to understand that it wasn’t me being “difficult”.

It was me breaking new ground.

As I am now.
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