Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

The Masque of the Red Pen.


Last night was the first readthrough for New Leaf’s production of Vox Pandora. It was exciting and nerve-wracking and required judicious use of a recently procured red ink pen, as I sat at the table with my face afraid to look up from the words on the page–waiting for them to betray me.

You know how sometimes you’ll go someplace on vacation and your memory of it, when you come back, far outshines the reality? I was waiting for the play in front of me, being read aloud by a hard-won cast, to become that vacation spot, to have the luster gone, to wonder what it was that drew the actors and crew to the play in the first place.

Betrayal is too strong a word. But some words, some stage directions, some character choices and plot rhythms…were not meeting quota, shall we say? I now have several paragraphs bracketed in the margins with only the word “fix” to remind me that something within the dialogue requires revision or outright deletion. I think I did fairly determining which lines kerplunked due to writer error and which died because of actor’s cold-read error. Although, again, sometimes the actor can’t make the line work because of writer error.

I don’t sleep much to begin with, but last night I lay in bed plagued by editorial suggestions. It was 1:30, I needed to get some sleep, especially since I’d be getting up early to go vote, but my head felt too hot, my legs tense. In the space between my eyes a tiny Research and Development team was jotting with marker on a vast whiteboard a number of possible changes to the script. And I wanted to get up and drag my carcass to the computer and attempt at least a few of them, even though my body was stubbornly denying any such requests. It was slightly infuriating. Unable to sleep for want of creativity, unable to create for want of sleep. And I hated my day job simply for being there.

The cast has a script that they will never again see in that form. (“It will be on blue paper, in Sanskrit, each page folded into origami swans,” I quipped yesterday, displaying an obvious nervous defense mechanism.)

The Mad Season begins.

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This entry was posted on November 7, 2006 by in Action Items, Mental Health, New Leaf Theatre, Plays, Theatre, Writing.
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