I didn’t know what to expect. I had quite an enjoyable train ride to Kitchener-Waterloo and was greeted by a lovely young woman holding a copy of my script out in front of her. It’s better than any sign anyone could have made.
We arrived at City Hall and I expected to walk into an auditorium of some sort. Surprise number one: the staged reading for She Speaks was taking place in the City Council Chambers. You’d never see this in Ottawa. The only performances happening in our chambers aren’t usually works of fiction and may involve funding cuts to the arts, not support for them. Not for the first time that night, I wish I had brought my camera.
I took a seat at the top and waited for the readings to begin.
Though I won’t go into detail about everyone else’s shows, I have to say that there was a lot of good stuff being presented. Also, the imaginative ways people used the space was excellent. Which brings me to surprise number two and three: my play as actually quite good and could be staged around a conference table. Neat!
Since this was a staged reading, I thought the stage directions would be read out loud. Imagine my surprise (number 4!) when I heard sound effects being used. Only once had I heard my piece read aloud, and this was for an earlier draft. It was great to see how the whole thing might turn out with some of the technical elements in place and that I wasn’t completely out of my mind for including them in there.
I had purposefully refused to re-read my script before I saw it staged because I didn’t want to have any ideas about the piece. I just wanted to enjoy what someone else brought to the table. They did not disappoint!
I got to participate in a talk-back after the show with some of the other playwrights in attendance. Feedback on my piece was incredibly positive and encouraging. One person asked if it was hard to let go of the play and have rest solely in the hands of the actors and the director. My honest answer? I couldn’t have been more thrilled. First of all because someone else took an interest in something I wrote and secondly because I truly believe that theatre is a collaborative effort. This art form is simply much bigger than me and I would do it a grave injustice if I selfishly held on to my work in order to assert some kind of creative control. You can’t control art once its unleashed upon the world. You can only sit back and enjoy the ride. Who knows, you might even learn something.
I had such a great and inspiring time. If you’re a female playwright, I highly recommend you look into She Speaks for next year. Also, they’ve got another event for short plays called Asphalt Jungle Shorts. It’s site specific theatre and I beleive it is open to everyone, male or female.
A big thanks to Paddy and the gang for everything! I look forward to seeing some of the video footage.
Interested in producing a short-play? Might I suggest Buds, now that I’ve had some time to tweak it a bit (though not much) after the reading.
Buds by Nancy Kenny
Approximate running time: 10 minutes
Comedy – 2 M, 2 F
Description: Great party last night, but how will the Taste Buds ever survive a day at work with a wicked hangover mucking everything up?
Please contact me through the comment section and I will get back to you shortly.