Contributed by Guest Blogger of the week, ML Kinney.
It started with an iota of an idea. It actually started by me getting rather pissed off one day by something I read. I don’t need to go any further with the “what.” My friends and family already know how I deal with getting pissed off – I rant, I rave, I write! (Usually taking an opposing argument, most times theirs, and using it to push my own home.) It gets frustrating for them that they have no rebuttal in my process, but it makes for good theatre.
So this iota of an idea, this tirade took form, of course, as a play. It actually took form as a one-joke play of thirty pages. I brought it to the Milk Can and asked for a read. So one evening we sat down as a group and read out loud the jumble of pages I had assembled. From feedback, and me listening to both the script and comments, it became clear that this joke was more. It was more than an iota of an idea, a joke, but a reality for a script.
I spent some months reviewing the script and making notes. I then sat down with the arguments in the background, an echo bouncing in my skull, and I started in earnest to form a fully evolved reality that went beyond the punch line and actually became a play.
With this draft, I started in the Milk Can’s Scene Herd Uddered (SHU) development workshop series. After seven weeks of working, I was amazed at how the script grew -- it become a world of its own, which is Life Among The Natives.
I am now in the midst of pre-production for the premiere of this new play, a play which has taken a two-year trip down the aisle to center stage. The process and the piece astound me daily.
That’s not to say that my work is done. We are two weeks into the rehearsal process and I find myself re-writing as we go along. Most evenings I sit in the rehearsal room cutting and pasting scenes beyond recognition, where the actors can’t even follow along. I change a word, a sentence, I write a monologue. I come home and re-write new pages and drift off to sleep with the characters talking new arguments in my ear. I listen, re-write and listen again. And through this process, I watch as a world takes shape and an event, the event of theatre, takes form.
I sit nightly humbled in rehearsals by the energy present from a group of artists who are there to fully realize an iota of an idea that formed in my brain some two years earlier. It would have remained there, floating voices for my therapist, or stayed splayed on an unread page, but for the ability I have with the company I work with. This play would not be if it wasn’t for a group of people, The Milk Canners, whom I respect and cherish. They prodded and pushed for me to take this iota, this joke, this part of me to its realized conclusion, which shall complete its two year journey on May 8, 2010, as it is handed to an audience to devour and enjoy.