BIRTH OF A PLAY: 9 Things I learned this time!


Susan RubinIn my last blog I was in the Valley of Fear, waiting to see if I could write a new play – quivering at the idea of feedback, and truly unsure of my ability as a story-teller.

Here we are four short weeks later, and I have written the play. It is not the play that will ultimately get produced, because that’s about 200 re-writes away. But it is a play. And it taught me a lot!

1. No matter how much you think you cannot do your work, whether it’s an audition, a new piece of writing, editing your reel, DO IT ANYWAY. Because –

2. You need to. And if you accomplish this, you will have a new piece in the puzzle of your artistry and your career.

3. If you’ve been acting, writing, directing for more than a couple of years, you probably know somewhere deep inside yourself, that you have a gift for this, and it is important that you talk yourself through the inevitable fears that come up, and do the work. Otherwise,

4. It will stick in your soul like an undercooked hotdog you should never have eaten! You must follow your Contract with Yourself and be an artist. Or, if you don’t absolutely have to do that, find something you DO have to do, and move on to that. Art is too painful if you don’t NEED to do it.

5. I was surprised to find that this play has components within it of every play I have ever written. Dumb? Yes, but I didn’t actively realize that each play is a part of my story, and they are going to have links to each other.

6. I look at what I’ve written and it is a real thing. A play. A new story I am telling. I can see places in the story that need fixes, and then there are places where I am blind to what is working and what needs to change.

7. This leads to the incredibly fun next step – talking to trusted Feedback Givers, and then – Most Fun of All –

8. Bringing in some really good actors to read the play out loud. And tell me how the characters feel to them.

9. By this time, I am so embroiled in the new play, that the hard job is to remember to keep in touch with other parts of my life. I love it when this happens!