Work blah blah blah...
Home blah blah blah...
Rehearsal blah blah blah...
That about sums it up.
Not a bad day by any means. Pretty much an unremarkable day, though, so I won't go into any detail about it.
It's midnight, and my 10-minute script has been sitting in front of me, on my laptop, untouched. I've paged up and down, reading it and re-reading it, and nothing's happening.
It's an okay play. I could probably submit it to a festival and have it accepted, but it's not good enough. I haven't written anything original for awhile, and I want this one to be something special.
The problem isn't that I don't know what to do with it. The problem is that I'm scared of what I have to write in order to get the point across that I want. It means leaving safe "Patrick territory" and getting into a place that's going to offend a hell of a lot of people in any given audience, even those who get the point of what I'm trying to say.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a play called Hit Me which was my way of breaking out of being "nice" to my characters. Though I like to deal with some dark issues (I've written plays about incest, suicide, child abandonment and the like), it's usually with a very soft touch. My characters tend to treat each other well, which has worked itself into a style in and of itself.
Hit Me was accepted into two festivals (Hovey Summer Shorts and the Boston Theater Marathon), and was met with very mixed response from audience members. Those who liked it really liked it. Those who didn't thought that it was pointlessly violent. (The plot involves two guys basically beating the living shit out of each other and screaming at one another for a good eight out of the ten minutes.) No matter what the reaction, the point wasn't to leave the audience feeling good when leaving the theater; it was to make them uncomfortable and to think.
This play, if I do what I'm thinking of doing, will make that piece look like a play about bunnies playing in the park. Part of me finds that really exciting and challenging. Part of me is scared to write it, because I'm going to want to submit it, and I worry that I'm wrong about the way in which I get my message across, and it'll end up being offensive with no real descernable point behind it.
I shouldn't worry, I know. It's just words on a page, but I haven't seen a play so fully realized in my head in a long while. It helps that it's based (very loosely) on a real-life incident I witnessed a couple of years ago. It's all about racism, bigotry, and making up for past mistakes.
I know I'll end up writing it; I'm just being a writing wimp right now.
There are a couple of plays that fall into the category of this play, to tell the truth. Things I haven't written beyond the outline form, because I'm worried that I'm delving into territory that isn't my place to go. I worry that a middle-class white guy from the suburbs doesn't have anything to say about some things.
Silly. Everyone has a point-of-view, and knowing different points-of-view is what writing and performing is all about. I've been told I write women characters very well, and sometimes I feel uncomfortable about that because I'm not a woman, so how can I know the inner workings of the American female?
Yes, it's all about imagination. Taking "write what you know" to the furthest extreme doesn't do anybody any good. If all I wrote was what I know, it'd be work blah, blah, blah; home blah, blah, blah; rehearsal blah, blah, blah.
This little ten-minute is a step in the direction I want to go. I don't think I'm going to get anything down in pixels tonight, because I'm tired and don't feel that I can do it justice tonight, but it will happen sometime soon. Possibly tomorrow.
And then it'll be time to deal with the other people, the other situations, the other issues I want to tackle.
I should write murder-mystery comedies. I don't think Fred Carmichael (the author who wrote the play I'm in) sat up worrying that he'd offend his audience. Maybe he did; how would I know?
Oh, this is all just a stalling technique. I could write this out within the hour; I probably should. Writing about not writing is a gigantic waste of energy.
Okay, I've talked myself into it. Time to get offensive.