• Tuesday, April 26, 2011
  • Mentorship

    It was Oliver Mayer’s birthday yesterday, and luckily our class with him is on Mondays, and so we got him a cupcake.

    I mean, it was the freaking LEAST we could do. I think we all agree that he’s just been an astounding teacher, surprising us each week with stories and insights and philosophies that not only made us do our best work so far, but made us love doing it.

    I’m so happy and excited about the play that I’ve written, and I could never have written it outside his class. I know of that for a fact.

    So I’m very grateful to have him as a teacher, very privileged to be in this MFA program, super excited about our next class with him in the fall, and dearly hoping that he’s not the type to periodically Google himself.

    If he is, though, hi Oliver. *waves*

  • Monday, April 25, 2011
  • My third full-length play

    I’ve finished my play this weekend, after receiving some pitch-perfect notes from Oliver, and I’ve been kind of giddy since. A happy, flighty sensation, tinged with obsession, which I imagine is what it feels like to be in love. Only, since I’m in love with something I’ve written, I’m actually kind of in love with myself. Which is messed up in all sorts of ways, but is probably why we create. Anything.

    I’m very much in love with all of my characters. I’m in love with their weirdness, the way they say things I could never say, do things I’d never have the guts to.

    Yes, they’re all figments of my imagination, I’m aware. Yes, I’m falling in love with my own flights of fancy. I don’t care. It feels great.

    Because I know it will fade pretty fast, and pretty soon, and I will look on this draft, and cringe, and blush at my immaturity, my obvious excitement, the places where I was a little too pleased with myself, the parts that don’t make much sense because I chose to ignore the logical fallacies.

    For now, though, I’d rather just get lost in this happy little romantic comedy that I’ve created. That resolved a lot of questions I had when I started out, while letting me know that it’s okay if the rest don’t ever get answered.

    Title: A Nice Indian Boy

    Synopsis: Naveen Gavaskar wants the closest thing to an arranged gay marriage. His plans go awry, however, when he falls for a White guy who thinks he’s Indian, and his perfect sister brings home some not-so-perfect news.

    If I’m not going to review all the plays I see, I might as well start noting down the titles at least. I’ve seen a lot this month.

    Here’s what I remember…

    4/24/11- Bonded by Donald Jolly at the LATC.

    4/23/11- Nagamandala by Girish Karnad at USC

    4/22/11- The Quiet of the Storm by Caroline Adan at USC

    4/20/11- America Tropical, an opera by Oliver Mayer, at USC

    4/16/11- The Bearded Girl by Rachel Skytt at USC

    4/12/11- God of Carnage by Yasmin Reza at the Ahmanson

    4/8/11- Wallowa by Oliver Mayer at Son of Semele Ensemble

    4/7/11- Green Bird, adapted by David Bridel, at USC

    …And I think that’s all for April. So far.

  • Monday, April 18, 2011
  • Having my play read

    Last night we had a reading of the play that I wrote in my first semester- Forget Sex. I wrote the bulk of the first draft in one evening- 60 pages, and a week later it was at 91. I probably won’t ever get a weird writing spurt like that again- well, not for a while, at least- and it was an amazing feeling. Especially since I’d written the play after struggling with another idea all semester that simply wasn’t going anywhere.

    Last night we had a reading, as part of the USC School of Theatre’s Western Edge Playwrights Salon, a play reading/masterclass series that’s in its first year. I’d written many of the roles specifically for certain actors in the MFA Acting program, so it was pretty great to see them read it.

    And yet I’m still not exactly sure what I’m supposed to get out of it. Yes, it was nice hearing people’s thoughts and reactions after, and no one seemed very obviously bored, which was my biggest fear, but maybe I was hoping someone would say “Here’s exactly what’s wrong with it, and here’s exactly how you can fix it.” Which is stupid, of course, but I don’t think I’m at a place where I can objectively stand back and diagnose it with a clinical eye.

    It’s nerve-wracking enough to let other people hear your work. It’s weird to create a space where everything that is heard and seen is something that came out of your own head, out of different parts of yourself, mostly the parts that you keep secret.

    Just for me though- it was wonderfully indulgent, a real luxury to have actors read my work. It’s kind of thrilling. Even with all the flaws in the script and the limitations of the process, I was still laughing at the same things that made me laugh when I wrote the first draft.

    About the play: Andrea Chang earns a living by writing love letters on behalf of errant boyfriends, but must confront her own sexual hang-ups when she falls for a client.

    The character of Andrea, who identifies as asexual, is a combination of two people that I know, and the orientation of asexuality has always interested me greatly. What happens when you feel no sexual attraction to anyone, especially in a society that privileges and prizes sexuality above most things? The play turned out to be more of Andrea trying perhaps to break out of her asexual identity- but I hope that at the end- and not to get too after-school special about this- but I hope that at the end, the play conveys the message that it’s okay to be different.

    Perhaps I’ll come back to this in a few months, and look at the notes I took last night, and think… “What on earth does ‘arc convention character growth’ mean?”

    I should take better notes.

    For now, onwards!

    My next reading will be on May 9, for the play I’m writing right now. Excellent motivation for me to finish it by May 9.