I was lucky enough to have the beginning of a play I wrote chosen by the Un-Scripted Theater Company for their Summer 2011 Improv Series entitled Act 1, Scene 2!
The concept is that the actors do a cold reading of the beginning of someone’s play, then improvise the rest. The playwright is interviewed on stage before the performance to get some information about intention, style, purpose–but not plot. Saw the Un-Scripted ensemble rehearse last night, and was so impressed. If I didn’t known better, I would have thought they had written sections of the show and planned them, the dialogue and story seemed so natural and logical.
The performance got me thinking about the difference between writing and improvising. The actors were able to stay in the moment without “driving” the story forward. And then, when the moment was right, the story did move forward— naturally. I have trouble improvising because my mind keeps throwing out plots, connections, set-ups, dialogue…which, since you can’t communicate and negotiate them with the other improvisers, ends up fouling up the scene by pushing it too much.
As a writer, I need to write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite… That’s the way I talk, too. I need to put my thoughts out there before I can really “see” them and revise them. I am never a finished product, and sacrifice dignity and elegance. But I find some satisfaction in the end result of this process.
I’m going to post this without rewriting (beyond reading it over and over and backtracking). By tomorrow, I would have worded it differently.
Here’s a link to a picture of me and some of the other fabulous playwrights watching last night’s dress rehearsal!
<a href=”http://twitpic.com/5luffs” title=”Some of the playwrights join the cast for Dress Rehearsal #1 … on Twitpic”><img