Thursday, September 14, 2006


It really came down to the night before, my decision on whether to take screenwriting or playwriting classes this semester. First, a lot of noise had to be cut out of my head to find the answer; finding the quiet took much longer than I thought it would. After several days, finally, and very discreetly, there she was: the calm assurance of the right thing to do, about 12 hours before I needed to do it. Of course, I really didn’t get the full feeling of confirmation until last night, sitting there with ten other students, going around the table discussing the assignments we would be doing that semester. Suddenly I felt exhilarated and completely happy. I knew I’d chosen right.

Our professor is the all-too-familiar whack-job I’ve grown so accustomed to in all my theater classes throughout my life. She is a protégé and friend of David Mamet, and quite the character. She has the neuroses of a mad queen, and the ear of a goddess for dialogue and good storyline. She wears bright red frames on her lenses, splashed with a little dark blue, and wears her silver hair military short. Loose, comfortable, all black clothing. Also, she’s insane. Also, I’m under the suspicion she has psychic gifts.

She had us go around the table and say what our favorite play was (not an easy thing to answer). I replied with what play I happen to be reading now: A Man for All Seasons. (Everyone has to read this play, or rent the movie. Seriously. Go now. This post isn’t going anywhere.) She asked why I liked it so much. All I said was the structure and language of it was as close to perfect as I could find in late 20th century western playwriting. She then blew me away with her reply. She agreed that A Man for All Seasons was one of the best written plays ever. But then she went on to say that I need to be careful about writing an historical play because of all the research and responsibility it involves. She also warned me against using themes that are too “preachy.” I personally would not have presumed so much simply because a student happens to be reading an historical, perhaps construed as “preachy”, play. But the offense of her inferences is usurped by the fact that she’s totally spot on. I admitted that my play idea does have some historical dependencies, and that if I wasn’t careful with the writing, it might be seen as a dramatized sermon. Pretty creepy. I asked if she could read my palm next.

I’m a gut-feeling kinda gal, and the atmosphere last night made me giddy. By December, I am turning in the first full-length draft of my first play ever. This morning, reading my scriptures, ideas for the play kept popping into my head. I’d have to stop reading and jot them down in my notebook, just so I could go back to reading!

This is gonna be good, folks. Not the play, necessarily, but the ride ahead.
{I keep getting error messages so this might post 3 times. Fun)

I'm so happy you feel like you found the right place!

If you're trying to avoid sounding preachy, maybe listening to ideas you get when you're reading the scriptures isn't a good thing...

Unless, of course, the play is something like Mormon history. Hmm. Then I guess that listening to inspiration that comes while reading the scriptures is a good thing.
Kell: Thanks! Me too!

Cicada: The play does touch on women in Mormon history. But I should have mentioned in the post that the ideas that were coming to me had nothing to do with what I was reading. It was stuff like giving a character a particular challenge, or a story twist. Stuff like that...
I'm so glad you chose the playwriting class. It sounds like a blast and the time frame doesn't sound all consuming!
Danielle, I really love your guts. And I don't care if the whole world knows it! D'ya hear?!

I miss you tons.
decision run with it. My current life vision statement is make it happen or let it go...way to make things happen in your life!
I am super-dee-dooper excited for you...way to go girl! I love you!
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