Friday, February 27, 2009

depression of the economic variety

Yeah. That.

It's definitely affecting the theatre world. Ticket sales are slumping, donations from corporations are slumping, theatres are closing, theatres are pulling back on accepting new plays, being more picky about what they accept and some are putting on hiatus new play development, contests, etc.

What's a young playwright to do?

First, be depressed. At least that's what I'm doing. See, here's the problem I've had. There's people better than me out there, so they will get the stuff I want (readings, productions, whatever). Paranoia of that sort. Then add in that I have NO IDEA what I'm doing when it comes to submitting, and that equals depression.

Then, I will make a plan. This includes:
  • being more aware of where I am sending work. My budget is tighter too, so I will send stuff to people I think I have the very best chance with.
  • being more aware of what is going on online. There's a playwright's website I've been involved with, and I will try to be more involved with it.
  • reading the vast library of plays I've accumulated. Hendrix had a library sale last year and I came away with a crate of plays. A lot of them I wasn't familiar with, many of them were by playwrights I knew of, or plays I had heard of. So I need to start reading them and learning from them.
  • keep writing. it's the best way to get through until things get better.

I'm still wrestling with 'Grace Kelly' and I am going to get some plays together and such for my weekend writing retreat with Bill next month. I'll be doing some work on 'In the Bunker' for sure, so we'll see how that comes along.

Subtext is hard to learn about. I'm working hard on it. It's been the single biggest struggle I've had with playwriting so far, but I think it's going to be VERY good for me in the end. When it breaks through, it will BREAK through.

Back to the grind with school. Writing retreat is coming.


I don't talk a lot about my personal life on here, but I got engaged a week ago. :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

coffee break (gotta give credit where credit is due!)

I didn't want to say I was taking a break from writing, even though that's what I'm doing. It's my other career related (Certified Dietary Manager through University of Florida and I want to be done with it all in October and I have a long way to go). I'm working along at a good clip, but I had to make a sacrifice somewhere, so I'm keeping actual writing to a minimum.

I did discover something interesting while taking a break. The time I do have for writing (which, because I'm thinking so much about 'In the Bunker' right now, it involves mostly research) that time is extremely focused. I am off my day job this weekend and I am going to spend some time at the library this afternoon at Hendrix while Bill is working in his office and I am going to look at some books on Goebbels and Nazi Germany. There's precious little information out there about Goebbels' family, virtually no books about the children themselves, so I have to take what I can.

Whenever I'm doing something pretty rote, my thoughts turn to Hedda. I've developed some interesting ideas, but I haven't quite gotten a hold of the final days in the bunker. Once I have those down, a feeling that was running through, etc., I'll begin writing. But that might be next week before I get to that.

I was very bummed out about this when I first realized I had to put this on the back burner. I didn't want to do it. I don't feel it as often, but sometimes I would feel pressure to keep writing and editing so i could get my plays out there to get done. This is, in essence, a good pressure, but I think I was getting too caught up in it and it was making me depressed. So taking a break is also good on that front.

Back to the coffee break. I'll be back soon though. I can't stay away. It's like holding your breath as long as you can--you come out gasping for more.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

staring into the abyss

I don't know what to do.

Actually I know what to do, and I will do it, but I just have to get these fears out of my system.

It's no secret to those who know me that I have a very (un)healthy interest in the Holocaust. It's just so fascinating, I don't understand how something like that could happen the way it happened. It just blows my mind, especially if you look at the intricacies of how it happened.

But this post is not about that. I don't even really want to discuss it because that isn't even what the play is about.

This is about children.

There's a Polish doctor, Janusz Korczak ( who was taken into the Warsaw Ghetto with a whole mess of Jewish orphans under his care. Eventually they were liquidated to Treblinka, where he and the children more likely than not died in the chambers. His story is fascinating, and I was struck by this man from the time I took History of the Holocaust when I was at Black Hawk, all the way back in 2001. Yes, this man has stayed with me for eight years, and I still plan to write a play about him. And I've tried. I've come up with a couple scenes, but the play wouldn't budge any further.

A couple months ago, I ran across a show on the History Channel about the Goebbels' children ( This was totally fascinating as well. It looked like the six children who were in the Fuhrerbunker during the last days and who were eventually murdered with cynanide by their own mother, Magda, who could not imagine a life for her children beyond the Reich, may not have known precisely what was happening to their world or to them. I am particularly fascinated by Hedwig 'Hedda' Goebbels, the almost 7 year old. I see writing a play from her point of view.

Now, I do realize, children are much smarter than they give us credit for, and not only do they often know when something is wrong, but they often find any way possible to blame themselves, so no one has to mention that. I was a child once, with sick parents.

What fascinates me is what happened to the innocent children of the Holocaust, on both sides of the issue.

And the wheels in my brain are turning, and I both love and abhor the direction they are going. Can I put 'Aryan' children and Jewish in the same play? They both suffered the same fate, and if I focus more on them being children rather than 'Aryan' and 'Jewish' it might work.

But I don't know. The more I think about it, the more scared I get about doing this, but the more it pulls me. Hedda and the Good Doctor, they're both pulling on me.

Also, I just looked back at the last entry I wrote with these two tags and I wrote pretty much the same exact entry a little over two months ago. Oops.

The point to this is, I am going to see where Hedda and the Good Doctor, and King Matt, I want to see where they are going to take me. It's going to be quite an adventure.