Friday, May 11, 2018

Writing on the Go: Tools of the Trade

Sometimes, you just need to get out of the house.

So you go to the park, or a local coffee shop, or your corner Starbucks, or a hotel, or a train, or wherever. So you pack for the journey: money for provisions, your spiral poetry notebook because you're behind in your Great Devotional Poetry Project, your devotional, a book for the next play you're researching, your phone, etc. And of course, your portable typing device.

In my case, it's a lightly used Surface gifted to me by my Aunt Mary a while back. This little tablet/computer is a gem. I keep it in desktop mode because really, what do I want a tablet for? It's super small and light, but it does all the things my desktop does except play DVDs and have a big screen, and it does them all just as well - when I was in school, I had Adobe InDesign,* Photoshop and Illustrator all downloaded** and simultaneously running on this tiny little workhorse and they worked great!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Confessing Church Chronicles: Interesting Facts

Monday night was the first rehearsal for my play, The Confessing Church. It was really fun to get everyone together and do a read-through of the script. I got home at around 10pm (I think...?), feeling very physically tired, mentally energized, and starving.

The following are some interesting facts about the play, in no particular order (numbered for visual clarity):

1. I'm very happy to say that this play has so far appealed to people of all kinds of different worldviews. Yay!

2. A couple months after I finished the draft, the Charlottesville rally was held, featuring, among others, the chant "Blood and Soil." I think normally I would have thought, 'Blood and soil?' What does that even mean? As it happens, I had used that very phrase twice in my play because it was a popular Nazi slogan - I knew exactly what it meant.

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Confessing Church - In Production

Graphic Design by Brian Overholt

I wrote The Confessing Church for an independent study my final term of graduate school. Over the following summer, I made arrangements to have the play workshopped again. I thought it wise to do so, now that I finally had a completed draft, and my local community theater group, Mask & Mirror, graciously agreed to help me with my revisions.

I let the rest of June and most of July pass without even looking at the play; I figured a little distance might be a good idea before jumping into revisions. When the community theater workshops started, I was ready to dig in again.

The cast of my Mask & Mirror workshop did a wonderful job giving me feedback on the play and their characters. I knew Anja's character arc needed some work, for example,* and there were a few scenes I knew needed major rewriting or throwing out, but I wasn't sure how to tackle those things. Hearing the play read aloud again week after week as I made my revisions, and seeing what the actors were getting from the words on the page were a huge help. We also had my friend Kimberly playing piano so the actors could actually sing the hymn excerpts this time, which was a big plus. Many thanks to Mask & Mirror and everyone involved in the workshop, and to the Tualatin Heritage Center for letting us use their space to meet in.

At the end of a 7-week workshop with the theater company, we had a staged reading - the play's second. It was awesome - we had more people show up than expected, so we actually had to put out extra chairs! Several of those in attendance were staff members from my church.** They went to work the next day and apparently talked about it at staff meeting; when they broke for lunch, my pastor asked for a copy of the play manuscript to read. As soon as he'd read it, he proposed that we produce it there at the church, which brings me full circle back to this: Next week rehearsals for my first ever full-length play begin. Is this real life??

Rehearsals start Monday^ with a table reading and I'm obviously very excited. I'm also realizing I'm a little behind getting my promotional materials ready, so I'm scrambling a bit in that area, which means Brian, whose many hats include being our graphic designer at church, is also scrambling on my behalf. (Yay for a supportive church staff!)

That is the story of how this whole thing came to be. :)

*It was more of a squiggle than an arc in the first draft.

**I work in the church office, so...

^Are you a church or theater company interested in producing The Confessing Church? Visit WordCrafts Theatrical Press to request performance rights.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Why I Wrote The Confessing Church

Next week rehearsals for my first ever full-length play, The Confessing Church, begin.* Is this real life??

Roughly a year and a half ago, I had the crazy idea that I might like to write a proper play. I'd written some short ones for a few dramatic writing classes and I loved it, but would I be able to write a longer work? After all, I write short poems and have trouble getting through longer prose works. What if I was only good at writing short things?

I enjoyed playwriting enough to give it a shot, so I petitioned my program director to allow me to take some extra electives in the form of a playwriting independent study with my dramatic writing professor, and he agreed.**

So in the fall of 2016, I embarked on my playwriting adventure.