In The Beginning There Was Darvon
I ran my lines so many times I was at the point where I didn't know what I'd missed unless I really focused, which is a bad idea when you're driving, or trying to get ready for the day job without being late.
It is a lot easier in most ways to work with your own text. There is immediate knowledge when you are paraphrasing, and then you get/have to decide whether the paraphrase is better. One lesson I've heard and agreed to many a time, is that every word is important. It was never so immediate and personal before. Even if I never do another solo piece, I will strive to find that meaning in every word as I work with text.
It was a friendly audience, our eight classmates and ten or twelve guests. I was still playing with staging, and truth be told was just at the point I like to start from at the commencement of rehearsals. It was an autobiographical piece about the relationship with my mother. The working title, is also the title of this post.
The first thing for me in this process, along with getting off book, was getting my emotional baggage out of the way. That was a challenge. My emotions are part of the story, but not THE story. I did not want old dysfunctional familial responses getting in the way, as I wanted to go past them for a more universal story. So I worked to get a pretty neutral delivery. Then, diving back into my own text to make the desired moments and concepts pop. That might have been more challenging than working with someone else's text.
By last night I was getting the emotional and story arcs in the general vicinity of what I wanted. Not yet close to a sharp focus, more of an whispy haze. I also had several concurrent time lines going. My childhood and early adult years, mother's childhood and early adult years, and the last six years. Making the story clear without causing confusion around interwoven story lines was a big challenge too. Mostly technical with the writing, but staying in the moment(s) was critical too.
I had several tentative guests, and only one made it and he had to leave right after the show so I didn't hear from him. I was next to last, and before I went up I was relieved only one person showed. Afterwards I actually wished some more could have made it.
People found the story very clear which was very satisfying, as was people's emotional response and feedback. I was sincerely stunned it seemed to work well. I may submit to the Solo Performance Festival. My reasons for not doing so are because it's a personal piece of limited appeal and I want to move forward on a non-autobiographical piece. Is that good reasoning or chickening out?