Sunday, July 13, 2008

Playing God


The cool thing about being a writer is playing God. You get to make up a world, put people in it, and then throw problems at them to see what they do. They ask for help, and you give them what you think they need, whether it's the butt-kicking they feared or the reward of their dreams coming true.

So, I'm in a new place right now. I stumble around in a daydream most of the time. But now it seems my dreams are coming true. Michael and I have gotten everything on our list that we've asked for, starting with an auspicious location (Playwright's Horizons).

That being said, I feel totally out of my depth. This week, I found myself knee-deep in headshots and resumes sent by various strangers, all of them incredibly beautiful, interesting, and talented, all of them totally capable, I'm sure, of reading the lines on the pages that I wrote. But creating a cast is something like creating a family, and I'm feeling not just a little pressure to put some care and consideration into this.

Not that I have time... we're taking the kid to Disneyland in a week on a family road trip planned long before THIS silliness came up...

So, at this point, we've got Ashley. And 3 completely fabulous possibilities for her understudy (I'm doubling the cast to build the chorus). We've got the Coach (but he doesn't know it yet.) We've got three possible Jeffs, four possible stepmothers, 8 great candidates for the stepsisters, and a dozen more fabulous and gorgeous women I want in the chorus (not because I need them or have room for them to stand but because I like them)!

And they're all in New York. And I'm here in Oakland.

So I'm being creative: Juliana Marx (our Ashley) is interviewing the Jeffs on the phone to do a chemistry test. I've set up a way for the stepsisters to record lines over the phone. I'm surfing the web looking for drag queens to play the central role (apparently they don't read Craigslist). I'm trying to set up a meeting with our director (who by some miracle also lives in Oakland), to help make these decisions. Because I'm not great at deciding. I want and love and am so grateful to everyone and so excited at this point that I'd rather just dance around barefoot and burst out with spontaneous hoots and giggles.

But no. I have to play God.

I have to decide the shape of this family. I have to decide the fate of all these wonderful actors (who have now all become characters in my head), without knowing if they need to have their asses kicked or their dreams come true. (Neither of which is likely to happen... it's JUST a staged reading...)

But you can see what's happening.

This is the imaginary meeting the material. This is the swirling eddy of sand, slime, and water that lies at the border of creation. This is what it's all about. There will be much more swirling, much more muck, much more confusion, and ... I'll probably forget to write someone back, or tell someone something important, or I'll say things the wrong way and piss off the best one.... or we'll get the perfect cast and sit down and read this thing and go: "Yeah, right!")

If anyone knows this, God does: creation is messy.

So if anyone is reading this (I know, you're auditioning for 17 different things and have probably forgotten you submitted), know I'm pondering your face and hope to announce your fate very soon...

Kristen

p.s. not to offend those atheists and Pastafarians out there, but "playing Flying Spaghetti Monster" didn't have the right ring.

1 comment:

cavenoid said...

Are you sure you're not just "playing mom"? Or maybe "stepmom"? Ak!