Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Making of the Mark, or What to Do When a Mute Joins You in the Shower

            I spent months brainstorming plots for my one-act. Months. As in, last August, when I decided I really, really, really wanted to be accepted into the 2015 OSU Spring One-Act Festival, I began a journal based solely upon potential one-act ideas. I must have brainstormed hundreds of different topics ranging from stupid comedies about couples fighting over how to cut bell peppers properly to dramas in which mental illness was personified. But, when it finally came time to actually write my one-act, I came-up blank. Try as I did, nothing really seemed to stick. I spent hours on scripts only to discard them in their entireties. It was ridiculously frustrating. I began to come down to the wire and continued to come-up empty-handed when one fateful shower changed everything.
            I don’t know what it was about that shower in particular. Perhaps the water was just the right temperature, or the pressure perfectly appeasing. Maybe it was the new body wash I had just cracked open. Regardless of reason, somewhere between shampooing and conditioning, Kirby appeared. Well… Sort of. I mean, he wasn’t actually named Kirby yet and I didn’t really know much about his history, but for some reason I began to think, “Huh. You know what’d be funny? A little speechless character who was obsessed with toast.” Wait—what? Approximately .67 seconds after the thought originally popped into my head my rational side caught-up and decided the idea was completely and utterly asinine. However, the little inkling of a character was relentless and I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Later, I approached my boyfriend and mentioned my experience. He began asking me more specific details about the character and, before I knew it, Kirby was named, had a defined personality and was a bona fide cult member! Go figure. The next thing I knew, I had a fairly solid plot and enough inspiration to again work-up the nerve to try to write another one-act.
            Obviously, this last attempt went better than those previous. I was amazed by how quickly I was able to develop all four of my characters and how each one really told me what direction to take the plot. The whole story developed pretty effortlessly and writing it turned out to be a very enjoyable process. I still had one major hurdle, however: I thought the one-act was sort of funny, but would my peers agree?
            Thanks to the lovely talents of my fellow playwrights, Amanda, Taylor, and Burke, my script was brought to life in class the following Monday. All three of my classmates cold read like pros and the entire class lent their awesome insights and suggestions as to how to improve on my work. After multiple drafts and a huge amount of assistance and encouragement from friends and family, I finally felt I had a manuscript I was ready to submit. I was overjoyed when the directors laughed when we first read the submissions aloud, and ecstatic when I learned Anna Mahaffey had accepted my work!
            So, what comes next? I’m really looking forward to the coming leg of my one-act journey. Anna’s extremely creative and a joy to work with, so I’m completely stoked to learn what fantastic new ideas she’ll have for the script. I’m also super excited to cast this sucker! I can’t wait to see what sort of unique perspectives the actors will have on each individual role. It’s exciting that The Mark is no longer solely my work, but, rather, beginning to take the shape of a collective effort. I look forward to discovering what sort of twists and turns our upcoming one-act journey will take and experiencing the trials and tribulations we will encounter along the way. Stay tuned!


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