Friday, October 14, 2011

Drama Mama

My little show at the North Park Playwrights Festival opens tonight. Last night we had a really fun tech dress. Turns out my play is on the program last, which is kind of cool.

Last night we got all the details and ran the seven plays for each other and our directors. It was a lively group. It was fun to see the theater with stage light and the red velvet curtain in operation--it's very cozy in there, as it seats just about 35 people. Unfortunately, we're having a freak October heatwave, but the wall air conditioner rattled away and gave us a reason to project.

It was really fun to see the variety in the other plays, including two rather raunchy clowns, an adorable old couple meeting in the park and comparing their meds, a confrontation over a peculiar fortune cookie, and my favorite--a deceased actress who's donated her organs visits the recipients in their dreams, urging them to carry on her legacy. I love insider theater jokes, and the plucky gal playing the actress from-the-beyond reminded me of a young me (or maybe I just wished she did.)

Our piece went well, though maybe with a little less energy than usual, since we'd been curled up in a warm, dark theater for over two hours, but we got some compliments on our blocking and our polish--if not as many laughs as I'd like--so I have high hopes for this weekend. I love the music in between scenes, and the sweet way that co-producer Jeff introduces us after each piece.

And my favorite part is the backstage camaraderie I've so missed these past months, the flurry of actors with their arms full of costumes, the complicated arrangement of "personal props," the clouds of hairspray, the lipstick touch-ups, the boosterism of the performers. Apparently, during the show we all hang together in the alley behind the theater (did I mention it's small?) and the producers provide snacks and drinks, like a little party. How delightful!

Oh, and last night I learned that not only do I have the opportunity to direct one next year, I can write one: playwrights from all over the world submitted 240 scripts for consideration, winnowed down to the 28 being performed throughout the month of October. What a great way to bring theater people of all kinds together.

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