I’ve done lots of readings from my work since my first one at Sh! several years ago. I love it. I love the interaction with the audience and I love the way it feels to be reading my story out loud. Well, Monday night that read-it-out-loud feeling got topped when, for the first time, OTHER people read my words out loud!
Monday night was the first read-through of my play, The Eye of the Beholder. I couldn’t have been more chuffed. Especially when my partner in the adventure, the delicious Moorita Encantada, showed me the room at the Green Carnation in Soho where she had arranged for the reading to take place –plush cushions, mirrored walls, thick velvet curtains. Someone commented that it looked a bit like an opium den. I don’t know about that, but it was Happy Hour with two-for-one cocktails and we had a bar tab! Cheers!
I brought the print copies of The Eye of the Beholder to pass out among our readers — those who wanted a print copy rather than to read from their iPads. To see even a rough copy of the play in print was a pretty cool experience for me. And I was very pleased when the room began to fill up with people, most of whom I’d never met before, who had responded to Moorita’s invite for readers. There were performers, dancers, actors, and people who were just friends of Moorita’s who showed up for the first ever reading. I couldn’t have been more pleased.
When the gorgeous Rubyyy Jones, who had agreed to lead the evening’s read-through, arrived looking fabulous as ever, and everyone was well lubricated with pina coladas, French martinis and mojitos, the party could begin.
I have to admit I was more than a little bit nervous at that point, having discovered that I, as the playwright, (my goodness! Me, a playwright? How cool does that sound?) was traditionally supposed to read the stage directions. I Have to admit, it was not one of my finer moments as a reader. Talk about opening night jitters! Fortunately Rubyyy took pity on me and helped me out when I stumbled, which was frequently.
However! Everyone else was brilliant! And if it was amazing to read my own words out loud in front of an audience, it was even MORE amazing to hear other people reading my words out loud! It’s hard to explain how it made me feel, but definitely giddy is right in there. My words being well-read and even acted by some totally amazing people who came of their own free-will after having read the script did amazing things for my fragile little ego. We didn’t even have to bribe or cajole! (Well, unless you count the two for one cocktails, and how could we expect anyone to read with a dry throat?)
The reading of the script took a little over fifty minutes, but the play itself will probably be twice that long when the performance numbers are all added in. Really, the script is the basic story for the director to work around, and my job is to make sure that basic story is strong enough to inspire the creativity of whichever director takes it on.
After the read-through and a short break, then the brainstorming and the critiquing began. That took up the majority of the evening. The discussion was lively, positive and extremely helpful. I took notes fast and furiously, and I wished desperately I could have everyone read it through one more time. But, Rubyyy tells me that’s what happens next after my next rewrite. There’ll be at least one more read-through, then a walk-through. And then things get complicated, finding a director and a venue and casting the rolls and OMG! I had no idea! For those of you reading this who have some background in theatre, I do apologise for sounding like a total ignoramus, but I write novels, and writing a play and taking it to the performance level is a whole new animal. I’m still trying to get my head around the whole experience.
Moorita has taken up the reigns since the basic writing is done, as she knows and understands the world of performance. I’m relieved to have that part in such capable hands. From the beginning Moorita has brainstormed with me and helped me to see what might work and what might not. Moorita has been the driving force from the beginning. The Eye of the Beholder would never have happened without her.
And now, it’s my turn again, as I face the challenge of the next rewrite. I’m on deadlines with the next Grace Marshall novel at the moment, but the next incarnation of The Eye of the Beholder is another challenge on my plate, and one I’m very much looking forward to. A very heart-felt thank you to all the lovely readers: Performers: Ava Iscariot, Annie Player, Miss Cairo Mascara, Davis Brooks, Lilly Snatchdragon, Sadie Sinner, Ursula Dares, Adela Apetroaia, Laurie Young, and Sarah Malter. And a special thanks to Rubyyy Jones and Moorita Encantada for making the first read-through of The Eye of the Beholder not only a success, but a totally fun time. You all rock!