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Self-Producing: A Solo Adventure #1

May 6, 2013

Great news! My solo show, View from the Pews, has been invited to perform at the Tennessee Women’s Theatre Project Women’s Work Festival next month! This is great news, but also overwhelming. There is so much to be done between now and then! Follow along on my journey as I post weekly about what I am doing to prepare, and the kind of progress I am making.

I received the news one week ago that I was invited to perform in Nashville in exactly one month. Eek! That’s a quick turnaround time, considering some of the work before me. Fortunately, for many reasons, I have been offered a slot that opened up on the last weekend – a primo time slot and a full nine days extra time to prepare. Whew!

This play is one of three scripts that comprises Things We Say to Girls, an epic project I am working on, my magnum opus. This play is also the thing that kicked off the project. A quick history:

In 2007, I wrote a 10-minute piece, Good Little Church Girls, and got rave reviews. So of course I promptly shelved it. In 2009, I dusted it off for another round and got rave reviews. This time I realized there was something in that piece that was resonating with people – and with myself – and I needed to probe more deeply. I completed the full-length script in 2010 and did a reading in early 2011. I intended to do a full production of it last year (2012), but things fell through. They just did. Mostly the reasons the production got postponed are: 1. Money, 2. Lack of Money, 3. Fear.

I knew that I would need a hard deadline – somebody else’s hard deadline – to give me a swift kick in the pants and figure a workaround for my reasons, or excuses – whatever we’re calling them now. This invitation is exactly what I needed.

Reasons to Panic:

  1. No money to fund the production, per se.
  2. No director to direct the production (due to lack of funds, see #1).
  3. No sets, costumes, props, slides, or music prepared (and also no funds to hire this out or invest in the production elements I see in my mind).
  4. The script is not memorized (and it runs about 70 minutes).
  5. The music is not completely learned (and there’s a lot of it).
  6. In my darkest, secret-est, most insecure place in my heart, I worry I am not up to the challenge.

Reasons Not to Panic:

  1. Hubs is a director, and while I would prefer a female director, his price is right.
  2. With this deadline and this budget ($0), I must find a way to make the production elements happen.
  3. I have a hard deadline by which the script must be memorized.
  4. Most of the music I already know, I just have to brush it up.
  5. In my heart of hearts, I know I am up to the task.

Reasons to Be Excited:

  1. I will get to invite all those Nashville peeps I have worked with, and want to work with, to a show in their own town.
  2. I will finally get this thing up on its feet – for reals.
  3. I am being given an opportunity to share this, to quit editing and tinkering with the script and just DO IT.

Tasks Week 1:

  • Edit script. Then let it go; let this production’s version of the script happen. Tinker more, later.
  • Get my game plan together: action steps and deadlines!
  • Send program and other requested info to producers of Festival.
  • Confirm technical specs for the slides, or devise a plan to do the show without them.
  • Generate a prop list.
  • Check with Equity about getting a Solo Show Waiver

Tasks Week 2:

  • Dismiss the playwright. She is on call should we run into a problem in rehearsal, otherwise she is not invited into the room.
  • Start working the music.
  • Divide the show into manageable sections and begin learning my lines.
  • Start blocking the show.
  • Plan costume.
  • Create marketing plan and marketing materials.
  • Follow up with Equity on Wavier

I still have to generate my prop list and get a more comprehensive game plan together; that is leftover from Week 1. Week 2 has just begun and I have sectioned the play to begin the line learning. Next week, I will talk more about the Equity Waiver and the action steps to make it to my deadline.

Things We Say to Girls is on Facebook and Twitter!

ClaraHarris.EnterprisingActor.Signature

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 6, 2013 7:51 am

    I just did a solo performance a month and a half ago of a piece I’m developing. I’m looking forward to hearing about your process during the coming weeks. And congrats!

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