The preface

Okay, I’ve got something to share, but I don’t know if it’s any good. I don’t want to say too much about it; just want to explain a bit about what I was trying to do with it. Not sure I got the point across adequately. It’s not really finished, but hopefully you’ll kind of get the basic idea. I wrote this, like, really really fast. I was at Starbucks on Wednesday and I sat myself down and literally wrote it in, like, one and a half hours. So, it’s gonna be really rough in parts, and there are a few sections that don’t quite work, so I’ll have to work on it some more obviously. Just ask me if you have any questions about it after.

Basically, it takes place in a playhouse in Calgary. And there’s the director, actors, crew—the writer is there. And they’re putting on a play about a family that’s dealing with a challenge. The daughter is getting married in a few weeks, and the family—well, really the parents—don’t approve of the person she’s marrying. I’m not sure yet what exactly they don’t approve of. The thing is, this family really keeps things bottled up, and they don’t know how to express their thoughts or emotions. You see, the parents were raised that way, and they passed that on to their children. And so the play is about how they deal with this situation.

The problem is, the play isn’t finished. The writer has only gotten through two acts, and there are three acts in total, and opening night is six weeks away. Halfway through writing it, the playwright realized that he didn’t know where to take the story. Because how do you write dialogue for characters who bottle up their emotions? Setting up the action is easy enough. But you’ve got to make them say something insightful eventually if the audience is going to get their money’s worth. But how do you make characters articulate meaningful insight into their family circumstances when they’ve spent their lives to that point trying to avoid just that, and to do it without destroying the credibility you’ve established in making the characters believable up till then.

So, everyone at the playhouse is freaking out, and they have to figure out how they’re going to get a third act, learn it and block it in time for the premiere.

This is a short story… Probably a short story. At least so far. I’ll see how it develops. But I’m thinking it’ll be about ten to fifteen pages. Anyway, that’s the basic plot. And you’ve got your unusual assortment of characters. The writer is this neurotic, indecisive wreck. The director is your type-A Stella Adler disciple. One actor is battling an addiction to amphetamines and craft services. Another is on the verge of giving up the business altogether. And one crew member suffers from short-term amnesia.

Ultimately, then, I’m trying to explore how these different people function as a group and how they learn to consult and work together productively under this enormous pressure in order to get ready for opening night. So, in one sense the story is about this ragtag troupe of performers, but really it’s addressing questions of collaboration, consultation and people figuring out how to problem-solve together.

Anyway, you can tell me if it makes any sense. I really need to work on it some more. I’ve got the basic skeleton down, but the point might not come across that well. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them…

Maybe I should work on it some more before sharing it. Just to clean it up and make it more coherent… Okay, okay, I’ll read what I’ve got. Just keep in mind what I said.