Monday, May 30, 2011

Unblocked A's: Messengers of Mercy?

The Unblocked A's are a group of six writers, past participants in PTC's Block A. They meet regularly in the PTC library to share work and support each others' process.

Is it morally right to eat from the opening night buffet when you hated the show?

This was my question, brought up at our last Unblocked A gathering; a few of us had seen a show in the past week and we were discussing it.

“Of course you should. The more terrible the show the more you should eat.”

And… “No, don’t touch it. It’s there to celebrate. And if you hated the show you’re not celebrating.”

This lead to another question: can there be a messenger of mercy? This would be a person who comes to the writer, or director, or producer, before deposits are paid, before handshakes are shook, and before the grant applications are sent in, and says, ‘This script is not ready. I know you want it to be, but it’s not.’

The show we saw was interestingly produced but the script was thin. With a messenger of mercy, the script would have gone through a few more drafts, and would have had a chance at being really unique, instead of another mediocre just-add-it-to-the-bio show.

I know, theatre is tough; tough to watch, tough to make, but every underdeveloped script just grinds away at our dwindling audience. Can’t we strive for fucking brilliant? Maybe it just grinds away at me.

There can’t be a messenger of mercy, for a million good reasons, but we could imagine there is one. Maybe the question should be, just because you can produce a show, should you?

Personally, I’ve always been blessed in this regard; anyone who reads my work has become a messenger of mercy.

But, I did inch closer to ‘unity’ this week; that’s where the ideas in my head nearly match the voices on the page. The first 25 pages of my script were read out loud; it wasn’t great but it’s getting nearer. Much better than two weeks ago when the same 25 pages were read; and that was bad, uncomfortable bad. This process of having work continually read out loud is brutal and insightful.

Melissa also had her first act read. I was really impressed. It’s a luxury witnessing the development of someone else’s work.

Unblocked A… we’re chipping away.

Stanley Katz

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