One of my biggest writing idols is W. Somerset Maugham. Originally, I loved his novel Of Human Bondage. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that book. It seems I come across the classics and the lives of the people who wrote them on my own. A kind of self-education if you will. It’s been, at times, a lonely journey, but also an exciting one. Often one title will lead to another to another and to another until I’ve discovered a whole new handful of great writers from the past. With Maugham, I was fortunate enough to stumble upon his ‘how-to’ autobiographical book THE SUMMING UP. I’ve characterized this book as being comparable with Stephen King’s ON WRITING. It has the same feel to it…it talks about writing and the writing process, but it also gives glimpses into who he was as well as displaying his delightful ability to entertain the reader with a great story even when writing and the writing life are the topics he is covering. Much like ON WRITING does.
I read THE SUMMING UP as I was first dipping my toes into the world of playwriting. Maugham was proficient and successful at both novel writing and playwriting. The Summing Up gave me hope that I too could make the transition from page to stage, so to speak. I still don’t think I’ll ever be a great playwright, but I love the 10-minute play format that I stumbled into a few years back. It’s electric, intense and exciting. It summons the same adrenaline rush I first experienced at my first 72hr Muskoka Novel Marathon. That fear that almost paralyses you, even as it propels you furiously forward to create. By the end, you need to have a finished product. The clock ticks, the words build upon themselves, the deadline approaches!
Tonight, I will once again find myself at the starting line of another 24-hour play festival. This will be my 8th. Much like the others, I will have 8 or 9 hours to somehow come up with a full 10 minute play. It needs to be handed in at 5am Saturday morning, along with 4 other plays from 4 other playwrights. At which time, the directors will descend and each will choose one of the 5 plays to direct. The actors will enter and rehearsals will begin.
At 8pm tomorrow evening all 5 plays will be performed for the festival audience.
This is addictive. The fear and anxiety I feel at this moment is laced with regret. WHY DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF AGAIN!? WHAT IF THE NIGHT IS OVER AND I HAVE NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT?! WHAT IF WHAT I WRITE IS HORRIBLE!? WHAT AM I EVEN DOING?!
It’s all so very exciting and terrifying OH MY GOD!
Here’s a recent article about this particular play festival, if you’re in the area and are thinking about what you could do on Saturday July 6th:
Five Plays in a Single Day: The 24 Hour Project Returns to Peterborough on July 6
I love the anxiety I’m experiencing at the moment. It’s the fuel that will drive me to figure something out, creatively. Hopefully something comes to me. I just picture the audience sitting there the next night…and the riot that would ensue if, in place of my play, there was simply a dark empty stage. I can’t let that happen.
WORDS, DON’T FAIL ME NOW!
From the Facebook Event Page, here’s the details…should you be so inclined:
The 24 Hour Project is Back!!! – brought to you by Arbor Theatre!
(this will also be a fundraiser for Mysterious Entity Theatre!)
taking place Saturday, July 6th at 8 p.m. at the Gordon Best Theatre! – 216 Hunter St. West
Sponsored by Steamwhistle!
Sponsored by Black Honey!
$10 for 5 original works of theatre!
Here’s how it works…
Friday 8 p.m. – 5 Writers begin scripts
Saturday 6 a.m. – 5 Directors read scripts and each choose one
Saturday 7:30 a.m. – 30 actors arrive and audition
Saturday 9 a.m. – rehearsals begin
Saturday 7:30 p.m. – Doors open at the Gordon Best Theatre
Saturday 8 p.m. – 5 new plays!
This year featuring :
Writers: Linda Kash, David Bateman, Christopher Wilton, Nicky Gibeault, and K Thomas Craig
Directors: Kait Dueck, Lisa Dixon, Wyatt Lamoureux, Dane Shumak, Conner Clarkin
Actors: Randy Read, Charlie Earle, Meg O’Sullivan, Lindsay Barr, Johnathan Sharp, Benjamin van Veen, Tom Keat, Aedan Shaughnessy, Sarah-Jayne Riley, Hilary Wear, Anwen O’Driscoll,
Star Slade, Tyrnan O’Driscoll, Ilan O’Driscoll, Mary Alice Osborn, Vasco Silva, and many more….
email – email@example.com to sign up!