Why I’m Freaking Out About Upcoming Play, But in a Good Way…

There’s a reason I’m a little bit of a wreck this week. I always freak out for about a week prior to these play festivals that I get myself into! Always! It’s a healthy freak-out, though. I don’t think it would be healthy to go into these things calmly and cocky. It’s a serious thing to write, rehearse and produce a play in a day. The audience must be entertained, right. You can’t go into these things thinking, “Whatever. It’ll be great.” You have to be panicking…you have to be at the point where paper bags are needed. Hyperventilating, in this case, is a healthy reaction.

So why am I even MORE freaked-out this time?

Here’s the difference.

I wrote plays for the last two Trafalgar24 Play Creation Festivals. The 10 writers get locked into Trafalgar Castle, in Whitby, Ontario, and we each have 8 hours to write our plays. 10 playwrights in 8 hours = 10 plays. We are each given the ‘words’ or ‘prompts’ we must use in our play, along with headshots of our actors…and then we are sent into the rooms in which our plays must take place. We actually sit in/on our stages while writing.

Trafalgar Castle – Whitby, Ontario – Piano Room
The Piano Room – Where I wrote my last Trafalgar24 Play.
The Entrance to the Piano Room

I was amazed by how alive I felt being able to sit within the stage while writing. The play wrote itself. I just stared around at the room imaging the play coming to life. As freaked out as I was when I drove to the castle, it all fell away the minute I walked into that piano room and knew I had 8 hours to luxuriate within its walls while I did the thing I loved to do more than anything else.  I sat back and let the play write itself.

When we walk away in the early morning hours, the actors and directors storm the castle. They rehearse for the next 8 hours…and then, the festival. The doors are opened to a barrage of eager theatre goers.

This coming Friday, I will be writing a play for the 25-Hour Masterpiece Festival in Uxbridge, Ontario. They are celebrating 25 years of their extremely vibrant Arts involvement. On Friday, I won’t be going into a castle. I won’t be sitting in my stage to write my play. The play won’t even be performed the next day inside an amazing room, inside an amazing castle. It will be performed on stage at the Uxbridge Music Hall…a regular (but I must add BEAUTIFUL) stage.

My stages have always been castle rooms. This is my first THEATRE STAGE play. This is ONE of the reasons I’m freaking out. The other reason. As I began to say, but got sidetracked in the saying, I will be getting a phone call at 6pm Friday night. I will be sitting at home. I will get my prompt over the phone. And then I will write my play AT HOME. I will not be on the stage looking out and imagining the audience. I won’t be walking around a deserted castle room acting out the play and feeling just a little bit crazy for doing so. I will be sitting at home, writing. Man…that’s going to be weird.

I’m going to LOVE this experience. I’m going to love it like crazy…because I’ll be doing something I love almost more than I love breathing. I am so blessed to be given these writing opportunities. I don’t know how I possibly deserve them…they just keep HAPPENING to me. Yes…I am so blessed! I love what I do!

I’m freaked out, though. I’m facing this new experience and I’m ready to run headfirst into it…but it’s going to be weird writing this play at home. Part of the adventure in writing the Trafalgar24 plays is in being there, locked into that castle in the middle of the night!

But I’ll make do. I’ll just pretend I’m sitting cross-legged in the middle of that vast Uxbridge Music Hall stage while I’m writing. And. I. Will. Write. My. Play!

6pm this coming Friday, I get my prompt and begin writing. 11pm this coming Friday, I send a finished play to the cast and director. 7:30pm this coming Saturday, the play is performed at the Uxbridge Music Hall in front of a full house.

I love this ride, man! This thing called writing!

(Uxbridge Celebration of the Arts 25-Hour Masterpiece Festival – click on 25 Hour Masterpiece in the left-hand menu.)

By Kevin Craig

Author, Poet, Playwright. Author of The Camino Club, Billions of Beautiful Hearts, and Book of Dreams, all from Duet Books, the LGBTQ Young Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press. Other books: Pride Must Be A Place, Half Dead & Fully Broken, Burn Baby Burn Baby, The Reasons, Sebastian's Poet, and Summer on Fire.

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