Saved by a Play Circle

Apr 14, 2012

It’s always been my conundrum. I’m a writer, therefore I work alone. I work alone too much, I go crazy. I jump back in the world. The world eats up my calendar, and I crave to work alone again. And so it goes.

This year I’ve found the fix. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Scripts at Work (SAW), an incredible playwright series born in central Alberta. As a member of a SAW Play Circle, I’ve buddied up with other playwrights and our fearless mentor and dramaturg, Gordon Pengilly, a leading Canadian playwright. We’ve met six times over five months, each with an end goal of completing a full-length play. We’ve read each other’s characters out loud, hashed over their flaws and triumphs, talked about arcs, truth, symbolism, meaning, theme, structure, and anything and everything getting in our way. It’s been both humbling and invigorating.

There’s still plenty of alone time – you do have to write the thing – but I’m not adrift on a solitary life raft with half-baked protagonists yelling in my ear. SAW provides a built-in community and support system while you shape and form your story and characters. It’s taken me from nothing to the end of a first draft. Along the way, it’s widened my perspective, made me a little sharper with dialogue, and cured me of my jump-back-in-the-world cravings, for now at least. Thank you SAW!

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