Kansas City Lessons Learned

No marketing meeting yesterday, but I did get a fascinating email from Jill Maidhof (our project director in Kansas City). It revisits the conversation about what the audience needs to know before the play begins. The (or “a”) challenge is that I can’t answer that question before the play is written, because I don’t know what information is going to be revealed in clear ways in the script. I guess that means I need to get back to writing it, which I can’t do in full force until after Yom Kippur.

I do love that Chip (from KC Rep) and Chantal (artistic director of the In[heir]itance Project) seem to be on the same page about the slow reveal of information throughout the play. It reminds me of what we tried to do with The Rebecca Play in Charleston. But I am concerned for the Steve Nochins of the world who will make up, I don’t know, 30, 40, 50% of our audience if not more. Will they need to be spoon-fed? And will that dull the magic or the power of the art?

Lastly, I saw Chantal’s message re: “Noises Off.” And no doubt she’s right about the inside/outside concept there. But if we choose to switch the actresses around the in the roles, would it make it more challenging to take that approach? Something I’ll bring up with Chantal when she and I speak later today.

Before I get to writing though, I need to make a list of all the things I learned in Kansas City during our open rehearsals that will guide me as I write these new scenes. Once I make the list, I can also make a list of scenes already written and scenes yet to be written and figure out which lessons from the rehearsals can be applied when and where in the script. So here goes:

  1. Race matters both ways
  2. I got permission to go closer to the line
  3. The Muslim version must be told
  4. The Jewish and Muslim versions must be identified
  5. The audience might not know the story
  6. The man doesn’t need many lines — it’s about the women
  7. Casey needs a scene where she exercises power
  8. “Royals” is funny, put KCitians in the show often
  9. Some moments in the fountain scene work
  10. Ishmael wasn’t “kicked out”
  11. Can pray AT a fountain but not TO a fountain
  12. Write two more “I can’t” scenes
  13. Chantal can have lines, as the deviser/director
  14. Sacrificing both sons works
  15. Amber knows Hagar was black as a fact

No doubt there are more of these, and I want to go back and add to this list after I rewatch footage of open rehearsals. But this gives me a really good start and can spend real time next week in my office hours at the 14th Street Y working this script next week.

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