Friday, July 21, 2006

One Horrible Thing After Another

But it's great tragedies that bring us together. They give us something horrible to share...
- from "Chinadoll Overdrive"

There's something positive in what I'm going through, I just know it. If I comb through the shattered, bloody wreckage, there is something positive in all of this. I can just feel it. Perhaps if I were a better person, I could find it. But I'm not a better person. Not right this minute. I am an open wound caked with glass.

Last night's "cold reading" served to reaffirm my fears of cold readings. It felt like a huge step backward for me. Certainly, it wasn't the worst that it could have been. People did respond. Those audiences are hip and generous enough to respond. But some of my text just doesn't lend itself well to cold readings. It's not all easy.

Behold how quickly infatuation matures into horror and disgust...
"Chinadoll Overdrive"

There were like NO Asian actors there, either. I needed two Asian-American men and one Asian-American woman for the excerpt. No fucking way. I managed to get one Asian-American woman (she looked half), and I recruited a friend who happened to come as one of the men. An older caucasian man played the other part. In hindsight, I should have just played that part last night. Other people read their own pieces, I could have done it. I could have pulled it off better. I understood how the text needed to work.

Okay, positives. I've got to be more realistic about the landscape of the world I'm entering. I'm stripping the ethnicities of the male characters in "Chinadoll Overdrive". It'll alter the meaning of it -- maybe significantly -- but the way it's written, it's not really about Asian-American identity at all. (Honestly, that doesn't interest me in the least.) The play's really about the relationships between men and women. Or more pointedly, the relationship of men to women. This should make it easier to cast in the future, and I'll do anything to give it a life beyond my head.

I knew this wouldn't be easy, but CHRIST. I want to focus on simpler plays. "They" talk about wanting to produce fresh, edgy work, but the reality is much more conservative and mundane. I'm inclined to put "Chinadoll Overdrive" aside for now and focus on my next play more. There's nothing fantastical about my next play. It takes place in a fucking office. I might be able to strip it down to three actors. Maybe four. Four sounds right. I don't want to be writing plays that might be popular after I'm dead.

I'm a good writer. I'm at least as good as the next one. I deserve to be working. I deserve to be a part of this community. I'm not cavalier about any of it. I work very hard. I appreciate the work that other people are doing. When I say that I'm "competitive", I don't mean to imply that I'm dismissive of other people's work. On the contrary, I admire and I'm fascinated by other people's work. I need to see what they're doing because I don't ever want to be covering the same ground. Ignorance slays me. I don't want someone to see something of mine and think, "This is a person who is ignorant of the landscape around him."

Fuck, I am sooo not having a good time. But it's work and it's a business. The business of putting up entertainment so that OTHER PEOPLE can have a good time. (Enjoying yourselves, are you???) There'll be time for fun. In the future. I hope.