Friday, October 26, 2012


Clearly, I am not the only one who has thought to re-imagine R.U.R. I have found some interesting versions of it on the internet, and there is even one premiering in NY in 2013. Part of me wants to not bother with writing my own version. But part of me feels like I have something to say that hopefully the other writers haven't said.

And it appears that our Red Herring reading of THE SCARECROW is back on the table.  I was thinking that perhaps I should write a first draft of my prequel to THE SCARECROW. It's been a couple weeks since I have worked on the play, and this might have been enough time to work on it. We are aiming toward doing the reading over Christmas break. We just need to cast this bad boy and then do the reading and see where we sit after that.

And National Playwriting Month is in 5 days. It feels strange to not actually be doing anything with it. I haven't even given a thought to writing something--I suppose I should think about that as well. I think that maybe AUGUSTEND might be a good project for the month. I need to work on it anyway.

I will admit, it will be nice to not be in charge of cheerleading for the event. Because of some recent things in the last year, I have been having problems with my writing. I have been writing non-stop for a couple years, which is really great, but I think I am getting burnt out on a lot of things I am working on. I need to kind of back off and just let things sit. I guess it's one of those things where I am tired of butting my head against a wall and I need to maybe just regroup.

I did see the final dress rehearsal for NOVEMBER by David Mamet at University of Northern Iowa and it was quite funny. I hadn't actually seen a version of anything David Mamet has done that I have actually liked and enjoyed. Perhaps its because it was so timely, but it was quite fun. There were, of course, many things that were offensive about the play, and I'm not even counting the f bomb pile (anyone who knows me knows I love the f bomb). But it worked. UNI theatre did a good job with it. The set was lovely, the actors were well cast and there were some adorable moments in between the last two acts.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Research, Research, Research

I am finished working with THE SCARECROW for now. I am back burnering AUGUSTEND for now, mostly because I am not sure how to approach it. The first version of it was FAR from the time period of THE SCARECROW, and AUGUSTEND was supposed to happen before THE SCARECROW. So that won't do. I just have some lovely ideas, but I need to just let them cook for a bit and then sit down with them, maybe later this week. It doesn't look like we're doing a reading of THE SCARECROW this year, so maybe next year. The play is actually set in early Spring, so it might be good to do it then. Also, I had an idea last night for a venue to do our readings in, but I must speak to the owner and see what he thinks before I mention anything else about it online.

So, R.U.R. I have discovered that this process of revamping the play is taking a LONG time. I want to know everything I can about the play, and maybe read some more translations before I go hog wild rewriting it, but I definitely have some great ideas. As I do my research, I am finding ideas that come to me and I write them in a different color on my research pages. I'm really excited about my reimagining of this play.

Let me start by saying I have ALWAYS detested the character of Helena. Granted, none of the characters are particularly well fleshed out (that's something I want to address), but Helena is the one I want to do the most with. She's so simpering--she bows her ideals to a man she's barely known for two minutes and the next minute she's marrying him. Lame. She come to the offices with a strong stance--to give the Robots their rights--and then decides after hearing some silly explanations about how it won't work that she is wrong. I just don't like the character--so I am going to do some work on her, as well as the other characters. I guess with Helena if she's going to be the only truly 'human' female in the play, I want her to be more complex.

The more time I spend with the play, the more I love it. It's actually quite a lovely little play, and with some extra care, it could be spectacular.

I have found in my research online that there have been a few other attempts at revamping it in the past. I haven't found a ton of information on it, but I realize I am not the first. I hope that I can make it even better.

Research for the Tectonic Theatre Project is starting up. I have the first paper about autism spectrum to read and a movie called 'Loving Lamposts' to watch. The moment work process is a bit different from what I am used to. More improv based--which I am quite rusty at. But it's a good way to create a play--if I ever want to do some work with kids, this is probably going to be a good way to do it.

Monday, October 8, 2012

THE SCARECROW or Well, There's Your Problem!

I don't know if I've ever learned to stop editing. I've been working on THE SCARECROW by Percy MacKaye--a play that is super fantastic and out of copyright. The unfortunate part of it being kind of obscure is that there aren't a lot of good copies around of it. I had to type it up so I would have it to use. This was very time consuming. My friend, Greg, and I are thinking of doing a reading of the play this month, which means I need to get it together. NOW. Yesterday.

And I need to not think about the prequel I am attempting to write to this play as well.

Right now, I'm just fighting with changing the language of the play. There's a lot of archaic language in it--a lot of 'thy', 'thee', 'thou', and I don't know if it needs to stay or go. I was noticing as I was reading the play for the 400th time this week that these archaic pronouns aren't always used in the play, and I started to consider removing them from the whole play. And I don't know if it's a good idea or not.

There's not a lot of information on how to do an adaptation of a work. I don't actually know how much of an adaptation it is. I think it's closer in kin to the versions of Shakespeare that take the language he used and made it modern.

But then I wonder how much of the play I am going to lose this way. There's a beauty to using these archaic terms. It was in the play to begin with--so why mess with it?

Eh, I guess I am going to save a draft with the archaic stuff and one without and see which works better AFTER I finish editing it.