I am very pleased to report that the three-day mini-workshop Theater Alliance set up for the beginning of rehearsals really (no pun intended) make a significant difference in the script. It got both tighter and more specific, and I feel like the story’s now on really firm ground.
Of course… that doesn’t mean I’m finished, or that I’m planning to stop going to rehearsals. There’s always, always, always more that COULD be done. So I’ll probably spend the next week or so sitting in the room while Shirley, Andres, Blair, Jon, and Brynn work, answering questions, making small nips and tucks, and eventually starting to get on the nerves of four actors trying very, very hard to learn lines while I keep changing them.
See… that’s what no one tells you about being a playwright. Although, technically speaking, you’re always allowed in the room during rehearsals, eventually you just get in the way. The actors are already worried about getting your lines right, and they really need to be able to make terrible mistakes along the road to discovery without worrying they’re disappointing you. Best to leave them be.
Your director needs the same kind of room to explore, too — she often has to try things that’d probably make you cringe if you saw them. Seriously: you made mistakes when you wrote, right? And then you undid them and found something better. She needs the same exact same thing.
So take my advice: when your play’s in rehearsals, get out as soon as you can, and don’t come back unless they say they really need you there. (Even then, make sure they mean it.) And if you can, schedule a good long vacation toward the end of the rehearsal period; I’m heading to Minnesota myself. It’ll help you resist the temptation to just pop in and see how things are going. Trust me: they’re going well. Or they aren’t, but the mistakes are all just slowly adding up to something new and wonderful.
Either way: you aren’t necessary. Your words are. Know the difference!