Tuesday, April 05, 2011

I Hear Little People.

A couple of nights ago, on my way home from performing in my play, I flipped on NPR in the car. L.A. Theatre Works was presenting a reading of Caryl Churchill's play "Top Girls." I had half-heartedly read as an assignment in college, but it didn't really make much sense, and it has been on my bookshelf ever since. The actors on the radio brought it to life in such a way that I was enjoying it before I even realized what it was.

I couldn't stay up and listen to it all because I needed to get to bed so that I could be well-rested for my matinee the next day, but when I awoke on Sunday morning, I heard the children talking to me.

Let me go back to college for a second:

On my first day of my first playwriting class in college, the teacher asked "How many of you see things?" About half of the students each raised a hand. Then "how many of you hear voices?" A bunch more raised a hand. I was one of the people in the latter group, and it was a good feeling to know that other people were hearing them too.

I hear characters before I see them. Sometimes they tell me who they are. Sometimes they just start talking... to me, to each other... and I have to listen closely and write down what they're saying, in hopes that full stories will be revealed to me over time.

So I woke up waaay earlier than I intended to on Sunday morning, and these kids were talking a mile a minute. I pulled my duvet over my heard, and tried to shush them for just a couple more hours, but no go. I sighed, got up, and started typing.

I had enrolled in Script Frenzy (an online contest that challenges you to write a 100-page script entirely during the month of April), and while I was busy trying to decide what to write about (2 days into the month), the kids worked it out for me. I still have no idea what their stories are, but as I write, I just have to trust that it will work out.

I've always had a tough time writing creatively on command. I'm always waiting for the muse to show up (and she can be one fickle heifer), so writing 3.3 pages everyday is great for the discipline.

Can't wait to hear what these girls have to say.


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