Monday, March 29, 2010

Sausage Gets Made, continued [All's Fair (Six Western)]

Part of COItc's pipeline for 2010-2011 includes development of the new play All's Fair (Six Western), the recipient of a performance residency at Centrum (Port Townsend WA). Throughout the year, we hope to post the thoughts of various members of the development team and track its progress.

Below, the playwright continues to recall some of the thought process behind the work. (Part Two is

The details of why I shared the script with Leah elude me, but I do remember quite clearly that it pissed her off. Now that I think about it, we were running up against a submission deadline, and being nowhere near done on anything else at the moment, I grasped for the AF(SW) script simply because it was a completed, if disastrous, draft. Leah was decidedly annoyed she hadn't been shown it before.

As Managing Director of Stage for COItc, Leah more or less has free reign of all my work as an assumed add-on; I didn't want her to feel I was holding out on her. At the same time, I didn't feel compelled to shovel shit onto her desk, which is what I felt this was.

Leah had other ideas.

The most exhilarating aspect to this group has been the evolution of our aesthetic; I can't define it quite yet, but it's there. Timor Mortis, McReele, and The Danish Mediations/slots had different directors and designers, but they nevertheless held our company's stamp, somehow. And one thing I've learned to trust is that if I don't like a script on the page, I can throw it into the middle of the group and watch something remarkable happen. Leah's gut told her she could do something with this script. As anyone who's worked with her knows, it's a mistake to doubt her judgement.

As just as it had been born out of some desire to stretch the framework of showcase performance infrastructure, in discussions Leah and I found that we were mutually tired of the entire showcase process, start-to-finish: the limitations of COItc's budget and schedule made every aspect of the process feel rushed. We wanted to do something that took its time, was better considered, and had time to breathe.

In the truncated timeline which had developed over time, the various aspects of production were stacked over each other in a haphazard fashion: the hiring of actors and designers were to distinct processes that occurred simultaneously, but without any discussion between the two groups until later in the process. That, we both decided, needed to change. Instead of parallel tracks, we were going to get a designer months in advance to help us create a world for the actors to step into from day one.

For that, we needed a designer who not only shared our mutual aesthetic seamlessly, but who had an appetite for a really intimate, long-running discussion about an incredibly wacky setup to begin with; someone who for practically no money at all and very little to show for it in the months -- up to a year -- to come, would still throw him or herself in headfirst. We needed a nut. One of us.

We needed Kina.

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