POST PLAY BLUES AND JOYS
I was sadder than usual immediately after my recent California trip. Besides leaving my family, I left Long Beach Playhouse where my play, which won the theater’s New Play Festival 2023, had a staged reading.
On the phone last week, my director, Meredith, said, “It’s called post-play blues.”
A few months ago, after first reading my play, becoming the director, holding auditions, casting, and rehearsing, Meredith and I talked, emailed, and laughed often and at length. We clicked. She got my work. We got each other.
All March, she told me about the rehearsals. Three days before the reading, at a rehearsal I attended, some behavior and speedy reading of the actors gave me pause. I calmly (sort of) shared my opinions and suggestions with Meredith. Everything will change with an audience, she said.
At the reading, she sat in the second row on one side of my husband with her friends, many actors, beside her. I saved a seat next to me for my daughter. Upon arriving, she handed me her playbill. “Will you autograph it?” she said.
(the cover of my playbill)
I choked up. I autographed it. I wrote a few other sentences. Nothing else had to happen. The two people I most wanted to sit between were on either side of me.
The Chair of Long Beach Playhouse introduced me. The house lights dimmed, the cast came out, cool, professional, and chic, dressed in black. The first line evoked laughter. Then gasps, more laughter, silences, more laughs. My words came to life.
(Meredith and me in the lobby)
After I told Meredith I loved the reading and hearing the laughter.
“Did you hear the silences?” she asked.
A woman in the front row introduced herself, saying she was on the committee that read the plays and picked mine. “On paper it’s wonderful. On stage it’s better.” Another woman in the front row, offering praise, wanted to chat. At length. “Are you a producer?” I asked.
The talkback with the audience and then a cast dinner were great fun. At home now, I am tweaking words, phrases, lines, and being reminded by Jonathan, others, and mostly my truest self that my Long Beach win and reading were amazing steps. Amazing first steps. A local theater invited me to an upcoming zoom reading at which their actors will do a 10-minute section of the play. A new actor friend is taking me for champagne. A longtime friend, who knows my play well and is a great validator, is taking me to dinner to celebrate. I am going to be interviewed by a writer of the NYU Alumni News about becoming a playwright at my age.
I don’t know what’s down the road other than my continuing to revise, write with an open heart, revise, write more, submit my work, and persist. That is what I do. I have much to say.
I am joyous and grateful. My theater family is expanding. My California family is perfect. Just the way it is.