Why start now?

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Tomorrow I will attend the dress rehearsal of a play that I wrote called “Agreed Upon Fictions.” The play will go up, in workshop format, on May 20, 26 and June 3 as part of Stage Left’s Leapfest, here in Chicago.  I have been a part of the month long rehearsal process, and at our last non-dress, non-tech rehearsal, I had an internal meltdown that left me a little bit shaken. It was the first time I realized that this small group of intelligent, talented, dedicated people was going to stop thinking about my work pretty damn soon.

I’m not usually this selfish. I have three kids (17, 15 and 13) and am pretty good at the classic mom “Me Last” mentality. I volunteer a lot, and I don’t always go to the “Thank You Volunteers” parties. I’m pretty private. I do stuff I like to do because it brings me joy, and I turn down opportunities that won’t.

But this feels different.

It’s taken me away from a lot, to drive into the city to be at roughly 40 hours of evening and weekend rehearsals. I’ve missed stuff that I normally don’t miss–games, recitals, etc. It’s been a source of mental distress, both in the casting process, and in having to replace one of our actors, because the original guy cast got a HUGE movie gig–and good for him, sincerely!  But the stress never outweighed the joy.

Thursday, as I sat in the rehearsal room, it suddenly hit me that it was going away. And that was the worst feeling.  I’m not sure the play is done. I’m not sure there’s not more I can learn about it from this group. I’m not sure what people who watch it will think. It’s not what I usually do–which is broad, broad comedy. Oh, I can make them laugh–like I’ve got them on a string–but now I’m asking them to take me seriously, and what if they don’t?

I’m going to miss my director, who is a marvel. I am not used to being around people like her, who can maintain focus on something for hours, keep track of all of her thoughts, and coax the very best out of people. I’m going to miss my actors–I look forward to seeing them in other things, but I will always think of them first as Katie, Brian, Daniel, Harold, Dawn and Mal.

I wrote all this in an email to my director, not asking for reassurance, exactly, but putting it somewhere so it didn’t have to stay in my brain. I concluded the email with: If I had a blog, I’d blog about this–maybe it’s time.

So maybe it is, and that’s why I’m starting now.

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