CHIME!

I’m a long-term member of International Centre for Women Playwrights (ICWP) where we have a tradition of announcing the birth of a new play with a [virtual] chime. We are an online organization of hundreds, supportive, informative, and I’m as proud to be a member of ICWP as I am to be a member of Dramatists Guild (DG).

So, the new play is Just Like Tennessee, of which I shared a scene the other day. The script is a long one act, running a bit over an hour. I won’t know how long exactly until it is actually up, and it’s a long way from that stage. The next stage is to have a reading, probably a table read. That’s where the right number of people take the script in hand and read the characters’ parts, and one person reads the stage directions. This is done cold, no rehearsal ahead of time. The playwright usually sits with another copy of the play, noting errors, places where the words sound wrong or where the reader stumbles over them, or something the playwright forgot. Or suddenly realizes she should add to the play.

After the reading, one usually asks for and receives feedback. Does it work? Did the characters seem real? Was the dialogue realistic and was each character different from each other? Could you tell what the main character is after? Could you tell who the main character is? (Sometimes one can’t.)

Just Like Tennessee is not chronological. Some of it is described as a “fever dream.” Some of it is clearly memories or hallucinations. What is real? Does it matter? It matters to me. I want people to know what happened, and to whom. And that what happened is real. As for what happens next … I don’t know. That’s not up to me.

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