Mill 6 T Plays. Holy Crap! What Did I Get Myself Into?
I don't think there hasn't been a single theatrical endeavor I've been involved in that at some point I didn't ask myself, What the hell did I get myself into and how is all this going to work out? I've come to resign myself that that is one reason I love the theater so much. It is live. It is real. And there are no guarantees when the lights go down and the curtain goes up what the heck is going to happen.
So I agreed to write a ten-minute play for The Mill 6 Collaborative's T Plays. The assignment: Tomorrow ride one of the lines on Boston's subway system, then write a ten-minute play by 6:00 tomorrow evening that will be performed in front of a paying audience next week. This is a whole 'nother kind of weird. A whole 'nother kind of pressure than even the kind you get in grad school where you're given a week to write a ten-minute play about three characters standing on the edge of a cliff.
I mean, I was honored John O'Brien, Mill 6's artistic director asked me to do it. (I didn't even know he knew me.) And I love the T. Yes, yes I do. I live three minutes from the Red Line and its sound is part of my world (it rumbled past just now) and I think the $59 monthly pass is the best deal in Boston. I used to love to drive, but now the thought of dealing with the parking lot we call the Southeast Expressway or negotiating Boston's maze of streets clogged with tourists and their Freedom Trail maps leaves me with a sense of doom, like knowing you have to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon with that aunt of yours who smells like a laundry hamper. I love sitting on the T with a book, or just watching, as I did just the other day, keeping my eye on two junkies on the Red Line, a young man and woman, wondering about their lives, how pretty and sad they looked.
But to write a freakin' play, from scratch, in a day?? Holy Crap! What did I get myself into? Talk about the blank page staring back at you? Rick Park, who I've never met but whose name I know for all his involvement in Boston's theater world has blogged about his experience with the T Plays. (Holy shit, Rick Park?? I have to write a play that's going to be in a show with Rick Park? Doesn't he work with the Gold Dust Orphans? Isn't he a Very Funny Guy? Oh shit, is it too early to start drinking? Should I fake something?--a nosebleed? a rare illness? the birth of a child?) He wrote about his first experience writing for the T Plays and how nervous he was. Ok, that's good. Rick Park was nervous. Rick Park puts his pants on every morning the same way I do. (Wait, how do I really know how he puts on his pants? Does he even wear pants? Oh, I'm doomed.)
Tonight everyone--playwrights, directors, actors--will be meeting and John will match us all up. Tonight I'll meet the director and actors I'll be writing for. Deep breath.