23. Rewritten

The elusive art of the rewrite includes many questions: do I change the location? do I move a scene to another place in the play? do I add or remove one or more of the characters? do I write a character's backstory? do I break the play down and rebuild it with several of the same pieces? with some of the same pieces? with a few of the same pieces? do I take a couple of the original thoughts or images and take it in a different direction? or do I simply begin anew? This list is endless, as process is a constant exploration. I've had different experiences with the processes of rewriting my first three full-length plays. Yes, after eight years, my third play, of the original three, has become a viable play again.

It was always clear what Six Lessons was and how faithful to Richard Boleslavsky's book I wanted to remain. Shakespeare Restored always provided a constant direction, which gave me a visible path to follow. The biggest challenge of the three has been The Night Before, as I never knew or understood what was driving this play. My difficulties with the first two plays were about my lack of experience as a writer; so discovering who I am as a writer and finding my particular voice were crucial. With The Night Before the challenges before me are as elusive now as they were at the beginning.

I initially wrote The Night Before in graduate school. The second draft was my Master's thesis, which challenged me to find a methodology behind the play. Creativity and methodology are at best strange bedfellows. If there is a single reason why I utilize research and other writer's writings as much as I do, it is from an unknown quality I was drawn to in needing to find a sense of balance between the elusiveness of creativity and the cognition behind methodology. No matter how much research I do, as an organic writer, my rewriting is less about cognition and more of a listening--a willingness to seek, a willingness to be open, a willingness to be led. Rewriting is after all not as much about the play you are rewriting, as it is about your willingness to allow yourself to be rewritten.

originally posted September 2013
reposted March 2018

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