creating a/broad, May 18, 2013
by Cameryn Moore
As I was sitting on the porch on Thursday with my morning cup of coffee, a breath-taking weight settled on my chest, and I couldn’t focus anymore on the blue sky and the air that is warming up again after a few days of retreat into winter. I felt my head drop back with the one sigh that managed to escape, and I knew that feeling: I’m contemplating a new creative project that scares the shit out of me, and I wish it were in my personality to retreat.
It’s just another script, really, and I have plenty of experience now at getting started with those, at getting stuck and unstuck, at moving forward in spite of my fears and sitting still with the possibilities until the right ones emerge. I have the experience, but experience doesn’t matter, because I know the stuff in the middle will be shitty.
See, I’m contemplating my new work for 2014, the one with a title that’s been bubbling around in my brain for six months at least. Only recently have I figured out how I think I want to write the thing, and that’s what’s freaking me out.
It’s a two-hander, two characters. Eeek.
It’s another fictional work, like Release, but more so. It’s a two-hander, two characters. Eeek. Multi-character interaction is something I haven’t touched in earnest in five years. Just to give you an idea of how removed I am from writing non-solo shows, I didn’t even know what “two-hander” meant until last year.
The character I would be writing and playing is someone whose background is like mine, but not, in several key ways, and I don’t want to misrepresent. My mind stutters and my throat seizes up; I don’t want to be that writer who doesn’t know what the fuck she’s talking about. But the relationship between the two characters, it begs to be developed, and my fingers are itching to dig in and make it so.
I started thinking about this new project with renewed force after seeing Vicious Circles at the Mainline this week. I went to that show mostly because I knew one of the performers, and because I hadn’t seen it during its highly lauded premiere at the Montréal Fringe Festival last year. I’m not a real music fan, so the context of the play wasn’t of particular interest. But I left with a lot of respect for the writing, the dialogue, the chemistry between the characters; I left thinking, there’s a lot of energy that happens between the characters when they’re talking and fighting and screaming at each other. There are some very complex personalities that can emerge in intense and/or rapid-fire conversations that aren’t being managed by the same mouth. That is something I wouldn’t mind working with in my next script.
That is something I feel like I must work on. It is getting constricting in here, in my solo-show-writing skin.
I have at least two more solo shows percolating right now
Not that I am going to leave autobiography and monologues behind. No. I have at least two more solo shows percolating right now; with this two-hander stepping to the fore, that means the earliest that these shows would see the stage would be 2015 (!). Yes, and I expect that if I continue in the way of life that seems to fit me, there will undoubtedly appear other soap boxes, other issues that I want to write and perform about.
But… well, look. I can spin a stirring or thought-provoking tale, all right. But there’s more to the world than that, right? When the questions come, when the discussions happen, after the shows or at the parties, or in the café drawing patterns on the table-top with spilled coffee, that is when some really juicy stuff comes out, between people. There are different depths and dimensions and realizations that are possible between individuals than just in my head alone. That is the stuff I want to explore.
I want to capture the crackle and fire of attraction, of irritation, of anything, really, that happens between two nervous strangers. I want to feel out the places of connection, interpersonal synapses that emerge carefully as two people edge and dance around each other in a stressful situation. I want to test my own abilities as a writer, to see if I can create a real-feeling, thoughtful, strange, humorous encounter between two people who don’t actually exist. Do I know them that well? Do I know human behaviour that well? Can I leave behind my own narcissistic tendencies for long enough to turn my focus on two people, the rest of whose lives exist only as back story?
And is this something that I can do quickly and convincingly enough to rope another performer into for next year? Will it be strong enough to persuade a producer to take a chance before the script is even finished? Am I an idiot for setting before myself a constant parade of “stretch” goals?
Possibly. Hopefully. Almost certainly.
It is early to be thinking about 2014 shows, about what I want to be doing a year hence. Or maybe it is late, considering my process. It feels ridiculous, given all the other stuff I’m trying to do in the coming months. But it also feels right. If it’s going to be weird—and it will—I want to give myself time to feel all the weirdness.
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