I am talking about the tech meeting on Zoom yesterday for the upcoming staged reading of my play, Tell My Bones.
I just kept in the background, off camera, and listened to everybody, since it wasn’t a meeting that needed me to be there, really. Except to answer one question about one of the songs in the opening scene. But it was so exciting for me to see these people who are putting on the reading of my play. And to hear about all the really complicated stuff they are coordinating.
Yesterday, I listed here on the blog all the various tech people involved, but I found out at the meeting that there are an additional four people: one in charge of marketing and social media, and 3 marketing assistants. And that the marketing has already gotten underway. (Wow!!)
So this means, 10 tech people and 11 actors to bring this staged reading to life. (And this is just a reading, not a performance!) That is just really thrilling to me.
There were a couple of things that I found interesting. The main one being that, once the play is written and a director and tech people get onboard, the play becomes theirs, really. Almost a living vehicle that has very little to do with the playwright (which is okay and how it should be, since live theater is a living thing).
Still, I have lived with this play, in its various stages of rewrites, for 8 years now. And suddenly it has taken on an identity that is entirely different — it is so full of life now. It is its own entity. It is really just thrilling to me. (And this isn’t even watching any of the actors yet — all the coordinating that’s happening now is just to get the play ready for the actors to give it even more life.)
The other thing that I found interesting was that, at first, I felt a little “less-than”, watching all these people in this meeting who hold important positions in theater and the execution of it, and they have these amazing higher educations (meaning, at the college level). And while I did go to college as a Theater Major, I didn’t last very long because I hated the college that my parents made me go to. Even though it had a respected Theater Department, I hated the school and I hated the city it was in. But my parents made me go there because they considered me mentally ill, and while I did live at the college, I wasn’t allowed to be too far away from a parent in case I lost my mind again.
(I wish I was being sarcastic and funny here, but I’m not.)
My parents didn’t actually care what I thought I wanted to do with my life because they expected me to meet a wealthy man before college was even over, get married and become a wife. So, watching these people yesterday on the Zoom meeting, it made me wonder what my career could have been like had I been allowed to go to any of the Theater Colleges I’d really wanted to attend, or to even have my parents’ emotional involvement with my life and my dreams.
I dropped out of college after 3 and 1/2 months, and went to California to live for a really short while. But my point is that, at first I felt inferior to the all the tech people with their great NY-theater college educations and their experiences. But then I realized that they were at the Zoom meeting because they’d decided to get involved with a show that I wrote. And I realized that that was really cool, regardless of my lack of education. (I did eventually get an Associate’s Degree in audio engineering in NYC, and then I went to Divinity School later in life and became a minister, so it’s not like I just wasted away or anything.)
And once I realized that I had written the play that gave these amazing people a project to undertake and to make their own, I remembered that when I came back from California, I was working at a factory but also working again as a model. And during one photo shoot, where I was feeling particularly unfulfilled — I was lamenting that I had hated college so much because I had really, really loved the theater. But I didn’t want to act. And I didn’t want to model, either. I hated modeling. It made me feel really stupid but it paid great. What I wanted was to be a playwright and supply people with words to say. To supply people with ideas.
(And it was right after that tedious photo shoot that the primary agent at my modeling agency told me that if I had trouble being treated like a piece of meat, I was in the wrong business…. That was my final modeling job, even though they called back and apologized for saying that to me.)
As a teenager, I had written one play — about gay ballet dancers in Russia in the early 1900s, of all things. But my primary form of writing back then was songwriting. So, really soon after leaving college, I was in NYC and was a singer-songwriter there for many years. But was also just hugely still in love with theater and many of my friends there were in the theater. (And my second husband, in fact, was a professional Shakespearean actor.)
But, anyway, yesterday, during that Zoom meeting, I recalled the one particular modeling job, where I was trying so hard to give the photographer what he wanted, but inside, I was dying a slow death because I felt so unfulfilled, and I really wished I could have stayed in college and become a playwright…
So yesterday afternoon was kind of an amazing feeling for me, gang. It really, really was. I am so grateful to these talented people who seem to really be in love with my play and with being involved in the staged reading of it.
By the way, I am going to try to have the event stream here on my blog, but you can now register to watch it at the main streaming site, FREE, by using this link:
If you aren’t able to watch it in that time zone (USA Eastern Standard Time), it will stream free for a few days on YouTube after the initial event. All righty. I think that is it for today, gang.
I hope you have a great Monday underway, wherever you are in the world. I leave you with something I saw on Instagram very early this morning, that helped me sort of bounce out of bed, which I really needed: Nina Simone, singing a medley from the Broadway Musical Hair, an absolute favorite play from my wee bonny girlhood — “Ain’t Got No/ I Got Life.” (I was listening to her live version, but the studio version is really good, too.) Listen and enjoy and bounce around your kitchen, if you so choose!! Okay, thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya!