There's a Play for Every Audience... And an Audience for Every Play
September 8, 2014
It's submission season for us playwrights
This means, weeding out opportunities of those that have submission fees, contests with themes (need to work on that "holiday play"), and E-mailing, querying, bundling, and sending our workl. Our very personal and sometimes fragile work.
I belong to a group of writers who conduct twice a year "binges" to help keep playwright's on task. One of the group's missions is accountability for your submissions and to help motivate other writers. A play a day is all they ask. They are a fantastic group.
When those submissions go in and come back (with either a "hit" or a "rejection" I can't help but think that with some of those notifications (or not hearing at all) that I've made a mistake. My mind goes through a game of ping-pong:
"Did I send out that play before it's ready?"
"Direct address is so... 2009, and 1954, and 1923... why is it in my play?"
"What? What? What did I just write? I can't write that? What if... they think I'm....(insert self-judging term here)"
Does the thought of rejection prevent you from sending things out? From pitching your plays to that producer, that director, that family member? Well, first, it's your job - the one next to writing, anyway. To get it out there. Plays are meant to be produced, not sit in the cloud.
Then, I think, "There's a play for every audience, and an audience for every play."
So what if your play didn't win that award. There are others out there, with other readers, and other theatres with other missions. This play might be the one that gets you to the next one. Or be the introduction for them to see where you go. If you don't send it - who will see it? Certainly not any audience.
To not write it, to edit too soon, to second-guess is the problem, not your play.
So get it out there. I'm not saying to send out a napkin with your scribbles to a theatre - still be prudent about it. But sometimes your thoughts ring true like that annoying nagging bitter aunt that we only see on the holidays, the one who says, "It'll never work..." Yeah. That one. That is certainly a part of all of us. Tell that voice to take a time out and go for it.