The new script came quickly, I basically got myself out of the way and wrote furiously for a hard week and allowed it happen. This is how I had written my play. The characters started to speak and I followed. It was natural and felt right so I went with it. Plus I had a deadline. I had to read it to a select group, ten or so who had seen my play and had heard my readings around town for the last two years.
Julie, John and I decided to have the reading right on the set, the painter’s studio, John would film the reading and the reactions to it. We could gauge immediately how our audience would feel about it. Our Greek chorus so to speak. Julie and Linda Leslie brought food, wine, and one of of the essentials; Julie’s brownies – we have, Julie and I, literally scores of art shows, music events, play productions, readings, many times accompanied by those brownies.
I get nervous before any live performance. Even though I was reading from the script I was still unnerved. God knows you don’t want to be flat and just read it, you have to lean into it and the more you enjoy it, the better the performance. “Be embodied,” my old mantra from the monologue days.
I think it went well, I read a bit too fast to start and then slowed down following the natural cadence of the writing, and my voice. That’s the key for me, to allow my voice to find its own unique cadence of delivering the lines. The natural drawl.
At the end there was a lively discussion about the paradoxes of life, a main theme in the script, how beauty and horror are held in the same hand, how war affects us generationally, and how art saves us.
The brownies were consumed. A couple of hours later, I think the team had a pretty good feeling we were on to something great. We had crossed a bridge and now we had another one to cross. Namely shooting the thing.