As some following my tweets may know, I’ve been working on adapting my short story, “Last Call at Corona,” from Uncanny Encounters: Roswell, into a stage play — partly for the fun of it, and partly because my friend Tim Mosbach helps run Theater Undreground, a local experimental theater company. As a writer, I’m always looking for new venues for my work, and I’ve never written anything for the stage before.
This past Wednesday, December 30, 2009, several of the good folks at TUG (as they like to be abbreviated) helped me out by holding a reading of the then-current draft of the play. In attendance (besides me & my son/videographer) were David Baker (director-actor), Katelin Stack (actress-writer), Anne Dowd-Fisher (actress), and Dave Freise (actor) — all TUG veterans.
The play reading went well. I enjoyed the performances, especially Anne (as Beth), and it was great hearing dialog spoken that I’d previously only heard in my imagination. I also gained insight on where the story flow wasn’t working quite so well — just because something works in a short story doesn’t mean it works in a play — and where my admittedly novice play-formatting style was a stumbling block. (Being a prose author, I tend to over-describe, especially in stage directions, just to make sure I get my point across.) Though the play itself is less than an hour long, the whole process took about 2 hours.
By the end of the reading, I’d gotten some good notes from all involved on how to make the story even better for the stage, and they offered to read the play again once I’d revised it. They liked it, too, especially the dialog — which is always good for a world-weary writer’s ego. Excited, I skidded home (through the snow) and got right to work, while the whole critique and process was fresh in my mind.
Before the end of that night was out (around 3 AM), I’d written at least 5 more pages of dialog. By the end of the following day (about an hour before New Year’s), I’d finished the rough revisions. Which is to say, I’d made all the revisions my fevered brain could remember on one go-through.
Of course, nothing is ever actually finished before I’ve read it through and revised it 2-3 times, so the good folks at TUG have at least a brief respite before I impose on their generosity and expertise again.
But, lest I forget in my enthusiasm, I want to express my deep thanks to David, Katelin, Anne, Dave, and everyone involved with Theater Undreground. It was fun, it was educational, and we’ll do it again really soon.
And if TUG likes the final form of the play, maybe they’ll even decide to produce it. Check this page, my blog, and follow me on Twitter for further updates. And if you want to know what the story is about, you can buy Uncanny Encounters: Roswell here or on Amazon.