It happened on a Tuesday and by the time I peeled myself out of despondency on Friday, I knew that this horrible news would be good for me. No, No, No November sparked the start of the first of many a Yes I had thought would maybe never happen again.
My search and submit process had been waning and then I saw a posting searching for playwrights to contribute to a 24 Hour play festival. My interest was initially piqued because I thought it would be a very demanding exercise. On top of the time constraint, the writers would be paired up and have to write a play based on a topic picked out of a hat, and the actors performing would have to drink a certain amount of shots of alcohol bought by the audience during the play.
I thought I was open minded and completely ready for the challenge – I really wanted a new and different experience working with someone rather than for someone or others working for me. I’ve produced/directed so much of my own work and I’ve been fortunate enough to seek out and choose the folks I’ve worked with. I thought that this would be a valuable experience adapting to a collaborative environment randomly chosen.
We were all a bit grim and jubilant at the meeting. We all wrote down possible topics, voted on the best (The Wrong Party) and we were off.
I was paired with a young man working on his MFA.
He was the exact opposite of me in almost every way.
He wasn’t much of a note taker or an outline maker and he was more of a big picture guy than a detail oriented one. He liked to just write without much planning, and initially suggested that we take turns writing dialog from virtual locations utilizing a Google spreadsheet.
I swallowed heavily.
He was more plot driven – I’m all about characters…but in the end, I was proud of our piece.
He was a big old nerd, so we had that in common. He wanted to write about witches – and that was great because that’s my geek genre.
I decided to be the dramaturg/editor, like I always am, because at one point I was making him a little claustrophobic with all of my incessant demands on specifics.
I took some notes while he wrote some dialog:
Theme: Comedy – Certain discomfort that the third party is feeling when approached by two others to join a specific group.
2 people competing for one spot.
Animal Rescue workers – community service..
Main character indulges in stereotypical representation of witches.
Time: Present Day
The Place: Sue’s Backyard in the suburbs of Michigan.
The Scene : Two Chairs, One Table
Props: Plant, Bowl of Water. 4 Candles. Bowl of Salt. Incense. Small Knife.
Lilith – Main Witch/Priestess – Cat Rescuer – Owner (has roommate cannot host witch rituals)
Sue – The Other Witch – Rescuer (host of witch parties/second hand woman to Lilith)
Joanne – The Volunteer/Intiation – “Works in Development Office” – really a telemarketer. “You can’t buy single tickets, only subscriptions. Used to be a dancer. Takes classes there. Works at night.
Max – Joanne’s cat.
The Place : Sue’s Back Deck Outside
Rebecca, Rachel, Renee The Bitch Witches
Culmination: Joanne Realizes Discomfort -???
Resolution : ???
How they met: At the Cat Rescue where they work/volunteer.
Party: Witchy Party/Ritual – Potential
Background/Exposition: Joanne has lost a cat/finds comfort in helping others adopt.
Lilith & Sue + Joanne
Cat death anniversary
She has it in her she’ll be on board – you’ve seen the way she’s talked to (cat’s name) – and the other day, the way (cat’s name) and her were getting along.
Pass me the salt – hand me the candles – spit in this. That dirt – plant over there
Pet Cemetery reference
Did you bring the object we asked you about?
Replacing the 13th witch
Recruiting Joanne for the coven.
New coven??? Can’t place craigslist ad.
Abandoned old coven??? Starting new one?
Bitter about the other coven – need to do magic/spells…to change the world? Help the cats?
Lilith was kicked out because she
I didn’t have an R name. Vendetta against them – and is vengeful.
Rival business in town trendy Cat café.
OPENING SCENE –
Backyard of Sue’s place – LILITH and SUE and they looking at the moon. – waxing for dedication ritual.
Perfect timing! Death of cat.
Reassurance – “you’re not nervous are you?” – it’s all going to work out.
This will be really good for Joanne. What time will she be here? She said – ???
(get ready – preparation)
Remember the plan. We’re just here to help her through this hard time, to support her in the grief of her loss. Blah blah blah.
Yeah – I know.
This is so exciting. We’re going to have our own coven, finally,
(mention bitch witches???)
(minimal dialogue before entry – with exposition)
Blessed, be my dear. Welcome. It’s going to be a very special night.
We’re here for you.
Glad you made it – found it okay.
It’s a little bit chilly out tonight.
Yes! The coolness is divine. Great for this sort of thing.
Did you bring the object we asked you about.
Yes, this was (cat name) favorite toy. I remember the day when I bought it for him. As soon as I brought it home he –
Well, yes yes, that’s nice. Could you do me a favor and pass me…
Talking about the cat????
What’s that? It’s called an athame.
Do we have to sacrifice something to bring Max back?
No no – nothing like that. It’s just a tool to summon…don’t worry about that.
I purify you o earth (air/fire/water) in the blessed and mighty names of the spirit of the God and the spirit of the Goddess.
Bring forth the reborn in exchange for our mighty blessings as children of the Earth and starry Heaven – fill the void with your magic energy. Bestow us with your enchanted gifts, we beseech you
I say so be it and so it is.
I say so be it and so it is.
I say so be it and so it is.
Blessed be o mighty Gods. We invoke thee – we invoke thee – we invoke thee.
By the end of the 2-3 hours we worked on it I was exhausted. I was trying my best not to be too much of the bitchy boss, but for some reason that’s me at my best.
The play went over well, and the actresses did a bang up job. It was a fun festival to be a part of – and I got to flex some writer muscles I don’t use on a regular basis. I also learned a lot about myself in the process.