For the past two days, I was in a writing workshop with Judith Thompson, the grand dame of Canadian theatre. I’ve been a fan of her work for quite some time now and when this opportunity came up, in Ottawa no less, it was something I just couldn’t pass up. I’ve been scared to write a new show.
Roller Derby Saved My Soul has been so good to me, but I definitely feel the need to do something new. After the 2014 summer Fringe tour, I was exhausted and needed a break, but I think a small part of me was grateful for this legitimate excuse to not write. If I wasn’t going to tour in 2015, I didn’t need to create anything else.
Which is a crock of shit, I know. I don’t need to have a specific reason to write, but deadlines sure do help.
This year, I decided to let Fate decide. I applied to all the Fringes again. As of writing this, I’ve already been accepted into two of them: London and Edmonton. And just like that, I need a new show.
The thing is, at any given time, I feel like I have 4 shows dancing around in my head so I put a lot of pressure on myself in order to choose the “right” one to work on. This, in case you didn’t know, is a perfect way to paralyze yourself and not write.
Which brings me back to the workshop.
I don’t think I’ve never spent so much time consistently writing something that wasn’t a grant application in all my life. I usually write creatively in fits and spurts whenever inspiration hits. This was two consistent days of inspiration leading to massive bursts of creativity. And I’m in such a zone I just want to keep writing more and more. I can edit and polish it all up later.
I learned some incredible tools to just get me writing but the beauty of this workshop was that it also gave me incredible appreciation, as an actor, for the work of the playwright. I know this is something that should be a given, but I think I often take the writer’s words for granted, including my own. I spew out lines by rote and maybe paraphrase a think or two. I always knew that actors have to make it personal, but I never thought about what went into choosing that specific text or line of dialogue. As we read each other’s work a loud in class, I finally truly understood how special each word written on the page actually is because I knew the story behind its selection.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some more writing to do.