I couldn’t get the attention of many theaters. I remember knocking on those doors, just arriving and introducing myself as a playwright. And later when I toured part of Texas and New Mexican trying to promote a play of mine, I had the same trouble, trouble with people in the theater not giving me any time. (There were a few exceptions and one exceptional afternoon-long conversation with the artistic director of Theatre Three in Dallas.)
I know theater people tend to be very busy, extremely so. I hope all theaters thrive and are bustling. And when, without my not having a recognizable name , such as a Tennessee Williams, I didn’t get the attention that I thought I deserved I should’ve accepted it. However, if I had, I wouldn’t be writing this blog tonight. I vowed then that I wouldn’t run my theater that way. I would operate a playwright’s theater…where playwrights get the time of day, the recognition they deserve, where they can try out their work, and have the freedom to succeed or fail.
My resistance to instituting this idea (I have the space and can get the actors), and my knowledge of the market based on the Two-page Play Contest I entered, has to do with my fear of being overwhelmed by the response. And though I don’t have a lot of resources, money or staff, I am naïve enough, as I have always been, to give it shot. I’m crazy too, because I don’t read that quickly and have tons of other things that occupy me.
The idea is if you’d like to come to Tucson to work on a play and have a reading of it or have it produced (simply), I will help. I will have to charge you something for expenses and staff time. Tucson can be quite nice, even in the summertime with the monsoons.
I see a need. I know there is one. As a playwright, I needed it.
By the way here is my two-pager that won a production in Sacramento. It is called “Him”
Copyright by Randy Ford email@example.com (2005)
(Along with him, two girls are waiting for a school bus)
Kay: Yes, you know… Him.
May: I see who you mean. (Frowning) Ooooo! Him again.
Kay: Don’t look at him. Ugh!
May: Yes, it is….
Kay: You’re looking at him.
May: Am not!
Kay: If it’s not him you’re looking at….
May: I’d rather die.
Kay: Yep, it’s him.
May: Are you sure?
Kay: Everyday it’s him. You know it is.
May: Him and no one else.
Kay: And that other guy.
May: That other guy is not as bad as him.
Kay: Or worse.
May: Or mean.
Kay: I hate him.
May: I could do without him too. The other guy. You’re staring.
Kay: I can’t help it.
May: What is it about him?
Kay: I don’t know. He’s… You know. Him.
May: I don’t fancy being like him.
Kay: You don’t have to worry. You can’t be like him.
May: Him or that other guy?
Kay: You’re right, May. If I was brave, I’d go over to him and….
Kay: I’d tell him, tell him to mind his own business. Write down his name.
May: You wouldn’t do that.
Kay: You don’t know. There’s something not right about him.
May: Just looking at him you’d think….
Kay: What do you think? What is it about him?
May: I don’t know. But it’s there. Something. Kay, you’re way too obvious. If you keep staring,
he’ll…he’ll say something to us.
Kay: I’m not staring at him.
May: If not him, who then? Boy, you’ve done it now. He’s staring back.
Kay: Who’s winning? Him or me?
May: I can’t believe you’re flirting with him.
Kay: Oh, what am I doing? (She slaps her own hand.) I wouldn’t want him to think…. No! He’s more
interested in you.
May: His eyes aren’t directed at me. You’re the one he’s looking at.
Kay: No, you’re wrong.
May: It’s certainly not me.
Kay: Look at him!
May: I wish he’d stop. Oh, he’s…turning this way. I told you, don’t look at him. Now you’ve really done
Kay: It’s not me.
May: You turned around, and…. Gosh! You’re way too obvious….too much makeup…too
much….everything. He’s going to think. Him! He’s the creepiest!
May: The scariest guy!
Kay: Him! I don’t know what!
May: Him, him, him! He’s coming…coming… Oh, no! No! He’s walking this waaay! Him!
Kay: Let’s go.
May: It’s too late.
Kay: He’s going to say something to me; I know he will.
May: No, he won’t.
Kay: Yes, he will.
May: Not to you.
Kay: Yes, me.
May: No, no. Never in a million years. You’d never…. Never, with someone that ugly.
Kay: Yes, he’ll… Him! Then I’ll ignore him.
May: You can’t.
Kay: I will.
May: You won’t?
Kay: You’re right. I won’t. I’ll put it out of my mind. He’s too ugly.
May: Pretend you don’t see him. Walk right through him.
Kay: Sail by him. Walk! Look stuck up. Boy, that was close.
To me the most significant thing about this work was how quickly I wrote it. There was almost no forethought. It was dialogue driven, a single build…not that the play has only one build in it. That decision is the director’s. Here I am talking about the mechanics of writing.
By the way, if you’d like to produce this play, email me to arrange a small donation for the right to produce it in 2008. Or if you would like to support my efforts by a $50 donation, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
That’s simple enough.