Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day 3 of Mill 6's T Plays

More on Mill 6's The T Plays.

Yesterday was the killer for me. Friday night we all were matched up: playwrights, directors, actors, and oh yes, the T line we'd be dramatizing. Just to get everyone up to speed, Meg Taintor, the artistic director at Whistler in the Dark and who I'm finding out to be a very crazy, very dear, very wonderful human being is the director. The actors are Derek Fraser and Matt Chapuran, who I still haven't met but did see a video of him at work with ImprovBoston. Kind of like Wallace Shawn, wouldn't you say? Oh, and we're working the Green Line.

Friday night Meg, Derek, and I talked for awhile. I particularly was interested in the actors, and I kept asking Derek everything I could think of: What would be his plum role? Where was he born? Just listening to the cadence of his voice. One little gem I gleaned from him was he someday wants to play the part of Cliff in the The Woolgatherer. I kind of knew the play because a few years back I used a monologue from that play for a StageSource audition.

Anyway, Friday night I was a wreck. It seemed everyone at Doyle's knew each other, had worked together, was so accomplished, and man was I feeling the pressure.

As I said, yesterday was the killer. Get on the T, get some inspiration, find a story, and write it by 6:00. Here's how it played out. I got up and got caffeinated. Read the news. One thing that didn't necessarily stick but is important is that there is a Red Sox-Yankees series in Boston this weekend. It sounds crazy and it all happened so fast but the series of events went: D train, hey wait, there's a Fenway stop, empty train, why would two Red Sox fans be on an empty train going outbound during one of the biggest series of the season, oh wait, one of them got them kicked out of Fenway, one is like Cliff the other is like Wallace Shawn, turn around and write it.

That's really it.

I tried to make it easy on the actors (no three-page monologues), I tried to give Meg a lot of action to work with, and I tried to make it funny. In the end, writers write what they know and they write about that bone they like to pick. For me, comedy is a lot of cuss words. I think the words fuck, fucking, and Jesus fucking Christ, spoken just right by the right character can be so funny. And for me, comedy is based in class. Someone in the "lower class" poking fun at someone in the "upper class." (It's easy to think "upper class" on the D line what with all those Newton stops.)

And so, that's how Striking Out the Peanut Man was written.

Derek asked me last night how I was doing, and I replied, A lot better than I was doing twenty-four hours ago. Yeah, he said, you definitely had that deer caught in the headlights look about you. 

Last night all the teams sat together and read. I am so impressed by all the work that was presented. Today, we start the part that I love. Meg, Derek, and Matt will start rehearsing at noon. I'll swing by around 1:30. It's the collaboration. All the people working together to make something bigger than the whole.

That's where we stand today.

Oh, and you can learn more about this project and get tix here.

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