MY NEW PLAY
So, several years ago, I wrote a story. A flash fiction piece for my website. It was 500, maybe 600 words. It was just one scene, a conversation between an author writing a novel and one of his characters. They’re arguing about what shoes the character is going to wear. It was kind of a fun little thing. I wrote it and moved on to the next thing.
But that idea, that premise, stuck with me. I liked the idea of getting inside the author’s head. The notion of a give-and-take between author and character. A bottle of wills. I wanted to do more with it. But what?
I thought about a full short-story. Or maybe a novel. But the conceit would be tough to maintain in those formats.
It would be an odd theatre piece, of course. An entire play that takes place entirely inside the author’s mind. But it was too good, it seemed to me, to put aside. So I wrote it.
And next month, New Ground Theatre in Davenport, IA will produce a staged reading of my two-act play FOR WANT OF A SHOE, at a playwrights festival along with several other plays by other playwrights. It’s inspired by that short story and the old poem: “For want of a nail, the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost, for want of a horse the rider was lost, for want of a rider, the battle was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.”
The first time I saw actors on a stage speaking the dialogue I had written it was as thrilling – maybe more? – than the first time I performed on stage. Writing a play might be even more stressful than acting in a play. When you’re an actor, you’re responsible for your character. You need to hit your marks and make sure you cue the other characters, but basically you’re responsible for you. But, when you’re the playwright, you’re responsible for everything. Every character, the words, the sets, the props, the plot. Everything. Ev-er-y-THING.
I’m equal parts excited and stressed out. And I’m not even directing the thing. Don’t even know the specific date my play will go on. But if you’re in the Davenport area, do check out the festival. Mine is just one of the plays they’re doing, and it’s all good stuff. Go now!