Fears & Truths on Stage

So, I’ve committed to reading my monologue at Bindlestiff Studio’s Wordy Word on March 30th. Wordy Word is a bi-weekly free event that Bindlestiff puts on for artists to try out what they’ve written. It could be anything from a play to a poem to a joke to a song, anything! The audience can give you feedback and tell you what they liked and what they didn’t like so that you can get a sense of what’s working and what’s not. I really didn’t want to reveal my piece until the show in October but I guess it wouldn’t hurt to get some feedback so that I can figure out what direction I’m going.

So many movies I’ve seen, stories I’ve heard, shows I’ve attended–they usually have some form of a happy ending for either the protagonist, a supporting character, and sometimes maybe even the antagonist. I chose to write a happy ending monologue that was based on a story with a NOT-so-happy ending. But after getting feedback about my piece from Sunday’s 6 hour meeting, I’m thinking I might have to take out exactly what I didn’t want to take out: the happy ending! That would mean tracing along the lines of the goddamn truth.

Robert McKee, the author of “Story,” said that “Story is metaphor for life.” He goes on to say,

Writers of portraiture must realize that facts are neutral. The weakest possible excuse to include anything in a story is: “But it actually happened.” Everything happens; everything imaginable happens. Indeed, the unimaginable happens. But story is not life in actuality. Mere occurrence brings us nowhere near the truth. What happens is fact, not truth. Truth is what we think about what happens.

I guess I need to step far enough away from the character so that it doesn’t stay too close to the truth. Otherwise, it will be difficult to make up the story. It’s hard to bend the truth and keep up with the lies but that’s pretty much what a story is.

And working under pressure doesn’t always produce the best work neither. Not to mention, I’ve got stage fright. I’ve got it bad. I don’t like being the center of attention. It’s scary because you’re afraid you’ll drop a line & forget everything you’ve been working so hard on for the last few months, embarrassing yourself onstage. I get this feeling even when it’s my turn to introduce myself in a class. My heart beats like a ticking time bomb and there’s nothing I can do to calm it down. However, once I get onstage, it’s smooth sailing. My mind switches to committing myself fully into doing my best. I cannot wait to get offstage but while I’m up there, I might as well get comfortable. When it’s over, I’ll realize I was worried for nothing. I admit to having had some alcohol a couple of times before a show to calm myself. Not that I’m not professional, just that I knew I could because it was standup comedy and it would have only added to my set.

All right well, I’ve got 3 weeks to fine tune this baby. I bought myself a voice recorder and placed it in the car because it’s always when I’m driving that I randomly come up with great ideas. I figured it was safer than texting the memo in my phone. Let the creativity begin.

1 Comment »

  1. […] getting nervous for Wordy Word tomorrow…which is weird because it’s not like it’s a real show or anything. […]

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