I had an unbelievable opportunity last night thanks to the folks at 5th Wall Productions in Charleston. I sat in an audience and watched as five extremely talented actors did a staged reading of my play Never Living. To be honest, I now feel strange calling it MY play. I came up with the idea, gave the characters names and wrote the dialogue, but it didn’t come to life from the first act to the final curtain until last night. The actors (Fredric DeJaco, DeShawn Mason, Sarah Daniel, Jamie Young, and Mariah Baideme) and the director/moderator, Jason Oslon really added a dimension to the story that went way beyond my wildest dreams. I probably should be embarrassed that I laughed at my own jokes and got choked up as Fred as Emmett explained how he came to love his wife, but the second the reading started, I felt like part of a collective watching my fellow travelers perform. The material benefited tremendously by the talent on the stage. As a new playwright, it’s hard not to be thrilled and moved by seeing something you’ve written and rewritten and rewritten – and rewritten being read with such care and confidence in front of a live audience.
Speaking of the audience, after the reading, Jason moderated feedback from those who took the time to spend their Monday night with us, and I got some great comments and opinions on what worked and what needed tweaking. I’ve made a lot of friends over this past year jumping into the theater scene in Charleston, and a number of the folks I’ve come to know and admire were there. A big thank you to everyone who attended. A special thanks to my poker night buddies who’ve been at all my public and semi-public readings.
Thanks to Jason, his co-founding partner at 5th Wall, Blair Cadden, and Kate Tooley (and I’m sure there are others to thank, but I was too awestruck to get everyone’s name) for doing a fantastic job of hosting Rough Draft Readings. It’s a great opportunity for playwrights to hone their craft and improve a work in progress. If you live in Charleston, checkout their current season. Next on the docket, is a comedy written by Blair called The Stray Englishman.