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Self-Producing: A Solo Adventure #5

June 6, 2013

The process of getting this show rehearsed and ready for the stage is not unlike childbirth.

During labor, there are peaks and valleys – waves when things are happening and you feel great and empowered, and waves when you feel like you have totally stalled out and you are lost, adrift, wondering when – or if – this child is going to do you the courtesy of finishing the business of getting itself born. It is the most mentally, physically, spiritually demanding thing I have ever done.

Until this show.

This show has been born over the course of five years. It is a very personal story, and one that I am keen to ensure is an entertaining evening of theatre, not just a therapy session for myself. Due to the very personal nature of the story, I have run the gamut of emotions during the writing, editing, and now rehearsing of View from the Pews. I am happy to report that I can now get through the show without breaking down into tears – or fits of laughter. There have been days when I knew I had to rehearse but I just didn’t want to – and I wasn’t just being lazy. I experienced deep-seeded avoidance and had to figure out how to work through those emotions to get the work done. There were days – or moments, at least – when I felt totally empowered, and days when I felt stalled out, lost, adrift. I have struggled with overwhelming self-doubt and, on more than one occasion, I have been heard to utter the phrase, “What the hell was I thinking?!”

I certainly could have done with a few more weeks to prepare. I could have easily spent the past five weeks working on the marketing and promotional side, alone. But the fact of the matter is that I had an externally imposed deadline to meet and I have met it. And that is huge. Having someone else’s deadline looming is something I have needed to push myself to take the leap off the cliff and get the show on its feet.

This week, I take the baby out in its pram for the first time: a local preview before its big premiere at the Festival in Nashville. I’m totes excited. I absolutely overwrought. But I am also very proud of myself. Look at what I made! Some people may not like this baby, and others will absolutely love it. Now is when I have to practice the niyama of Ishvara Pranidhana, the yogic practice of non-attachment. I cannot control how other people feel or what they think about my piece. What I can control is how well prepared I am to perform. So, I will continue to rehearse, I will drink lots of water and eat healthfully, I will get rest and exercise, and I will pour myself a celebratory libation to honor the work I have done. Next stop: Opening Night!

What is this about? Here’s the scoop:

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! Follow along on my journey as I post weekly about what I am doing to prepare, and the kind of progress I am making.

Things We Say to Girls is on Facebook and Twitter!

Tasks Week 6:

  • For Preview: Additional Props (My preview site does not have the capability to project my slides, so I am reworking how the messages on the slides are integrated into the show.)
  • ROCK OUT at the Preview
  • Run, Run, Run…and then Run some more.
  • Edit VO & add to Slides
  • Last minute push on press releases and social media to help get folks to the theatre Saturday night.
  • Tech in Nashville
  • ROCK OUT at the Festival

Tasks Week 5:

  • Get off book. (I’m a-gettin’, I’m a-gettin’!)
  • Send out press releases to local outlets about the preview.
  • Start massive social media campaign to draw audience to the preview and the Nashville show.
  • Complete wardrobe.
  • Purchase the last prop, a black cloth for the (onstage) prop table.
  • Record VO for slides.
  • Finish Week 3 Tasks (you know, the ones I was supposed to do last week, sigh.)

Tasks Week 4:

  • Get off book.
  • Acquire/Make Props
  • Start shopping for wardrobe
  • Send out marketing materials & press releases.
  • Finish Week 3 Tasks

Tasks Week 3:

  • Follow up with Equity on Wavier (still waiting, but I did follow up…I just have to keep following)
  • Finish blocking the show
  • Start working the sections
  • Begin building/acquiring props
  • Design slides
  • Run the music
  • Learn lines
  • Clarify what the site can provide & remain in contact with them

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

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

Props & Slides are due May 1st; Off Book on May 3rd


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