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.