Sunday, June 11, 2006

82% Not Happy

It's over. That's the best I can say for our scratch performances. Of the performance of my piece, I can say that it went wonderfully. I have no fault with the actors--they were incredible, and they really came through for the characters. I was so glad to work with them.

But the rehearsal process was the most disorganised thing I have ever experienced in my life. By four o'clock in the afternoon on Friday, with another group still to tech for a seven o'clock go, my director STILL hadn't finished blocking my piece. With 12 hours of rehearsal between two directors, you would think that someone would have at least had the foresight to read through the end of my piece--the new ending I rewrote on the advice of a professional director. But it soon became apparent that he hadn't read the new pages, and what's worse, was missing my intention. He began to change the piece around, and I finally stood up, cut the final scene and ended the piece early. I wasn't going to make the actors perform something they had rehearsed once. Upset doesn't begin to describe how I felt about the experience.

Now, as I said, the performances themselves went well. Everyone had positive things to say about the writing, about the acting, and I was happy with what was onstage. But thinking about the drama that went into that last rehearsal nearly made me throw up. The props were also not gotten until right before the show. No one communicated to the actors what costume pieces they were going to need. The lights which we used on Thursday were refocussed on Friday because no one told the technician that we needed them again on Saturday. Little things that would have been solved by the addition of one halfway competent stage manager who could look at all six pieces and communicate between the directors. I don't know how or why Matt felt that my piece could just be directed on the fly, when all along everyone has been praising it as an "expressionist" piece which means it needs MORE planning, not less. For another writer's piece he came in with clear ideas already laid out and it was just a matter of telling the actors and letting them go. Naturally, Sarah is over the moon about how well her piece went. I, on the other hand, can't believe this is the same director.

Theatre is not about "to be or not to be" it's about "hey, have we got that stupid skull yet?!"

I hope I'm not sounding too much like a whingy writer who's "vision" isn't being realised. From the beginning we were told that these performances were to showcase our writing and to give us the chance to work with professionals. I've already made an appointment with John to talk to him about how unhappy I am. But you all get to hear it first, you lucky people. The good thing was, one of the actors made a DVD of the performance and she's promised to give me a copy. If you see it, you'll love it--as I say, the performance went really well. But I'm still gutted.

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