So, I had to have this thing on Sunday. It was mandatory as a first-year playwright that I have a public reading of a new work this spring. It was in the cards. March 11th. It was destined since Day One, and as fall tumbled on, I feared it so.
Last August I moved to the desert to write plays, and by December I had one play under my belt, and I really hated it. But, still, the reading was going to happen. Here's what I did: I mined the stupid trash for the gems. I took the gems, shined them, rearranged, added, and so on until I had (basically) a brand new play from the rubble of Attempt One. I was introduced to a wonderful woman who said she would direct my reading. She brought on a wonderful actress who was happy to perform. (This play ended up being a collection of monologues--performed by one actor.) We met. W talked. I revised. We rehearsed. I refined. "Hey," I thought, "This isn't half bad." But, still, I did not like thinking about March 11th. 3/11 Day. WHOA-OH AMBER IS THE COLOR OF HER ENERGY.
One way that I fail as an artist is that I am not good at promoting my own work. I never have been. "Why didn't you tell me you were _____!?"--a common complaint of friends of mine since I was 12. I don't know! I don't know! I want everyone to support the arts, but I can't seem to self-promote. I just can't. There's nothing worse than wasting someone's time. I always worry. I worry.
BUT I HAD TO SELF-PROMOTE FOR THIS DANG THING BECAUSE IT WAS JUST MY PIECE AND ONE ACTRESS AND ONE DIRECTOR. BLAGH MY NIGHTMARE.
Anyway, I did tell some people about it. Including Chelle, who I strongly suspect strongarmed many a member of our comedy posse into attendance. Also, there were interested others, and fellow grads, and friends of the actress and director, and, so, well, it ended up being a hefty little crowd in that tiny studio at 7:30 PM on Sunday.
It began, and almost immediately, I was horrified. "This part sucks. That's not funny. Cliche. Cliche. Cliche. This is preachy. This isn't preachy enough. I hate this. I hope this building is set on fire before my talk back begins. Kill me. Dear, Jesus, if you can hear me, could you come down from your metaphorical cross from just a mom so you may smite me dead? Love, Alice. Do you smite? Even if it is a smite of love? Oh, I HATE THIS." But, then, it was over. And everyone clapped, and I sat in front of the room with the other two women I have come to love and respect, and the director asked the audience for feedback. And it was overwhelmingly positive. Now, I'm not a dummy. I know that talk backs are generally very positive because, who is going to just full-on hate right to your face? But, still, I felt relief. Even if I still knew...there are parts that need major work. There are things that I should never have written. If I get crushed by a semi tomorrow, I will grimace down at the world as my soul sprouts wings and floats skyward knowing the last thing I shared was that reading. But, WHATEVER. It was over, and, well, people thought about issues beyond themselves for an hour, and that's really the best I can ever hope for.
The reading team. Actress, director, playwright.
I felt loved loved loved seeing all these silly sketch boys and girls supporting me. Chelle brought a dozen donuts instead of roses, and everyone signed the box.
Some of the comedy crew. A bunch not in this shot.
I heaved a big sigh. I biked into the night. I laid down in my bed. It's over. Thank God, it's over. For now.
But what wasn't over was the fun. Because soon Bug, Skars, and Chelle were at my door. I was in high school again watching a bad scary movie with friends on a Sunday night and feeling rebellious about it. We ate big bowls of pesto, and I nommed through my donuts. When Chelle and I came back from Redbox, we were in the middle of a conversation, and Bug and Skars loudly enacted a rouse of being caught making out on my living room couch. Chelle and I dismissed it, and they played the game for a good ten minutes. We screamed at gruesome deaths. When it was all said and done, there was coconut donut in the carpet and an empty bottle of wine my roommate had brewed and Skars was very competitively trying to make Bug guess what he was writing on her back.
And when everyone left, I wasn't ready for bed. Not just yet. So I warmed up a last donut and ate it with a fork and knife in bed while Jonah Hill did live sketch comedy.