Has this ever happened to you?
You’re watching a rehearsal or a production of one of your plays, or maybe you’re reading something you’ve written. You hear a line or read a sentence and your first thought it – “Who wrote that? Did I write that? I didn’t write that – they must be throwing something new in. That must have been edited.”
This happens to me all the time. I’m watching a scene and I’m sure the actors aren’t saying my dialogue. I really like what they’re saying, it’s great stuff. But I’m sure it’s not mine.
Of course, when I go to the original material it’s totally mine. The actors are not making something up or throwing something new in. They don’t have to, they have a script. It’s my dialogue.
So am I just a forgetful nut or is it something else?
When I watch one of my plays, I really try to become an audience member. I don’t want to be THE PLAYWRIGHT. I want to be entertained, moved, made to laugh. I want to be engaged by the theatrical experience. And that means sometimes I forget the writing process of a particular play. I think that’s good – I don’t want to be reminded of what it was like to write a play, I want to be swept away by what’s in front of me.
An audience doesn’t care about the fact that it may have taken 2 years to write something, or that you re-wrote such and such a scene 12 times. They care about the experience. And so should we.
When you read or see your work, do you remember the process, or are you engaged with the product?