Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Spring offensive starts today

Selection time. I voluntarily waded into the bathtub of razor blades beginning last May, and I've since sent my play to more than 160 theaters and contests across the country. I've garnered a little response, a growing folder of rejections and finalist honors from a small competition in New England (more than what was on my "resume" before.)

Now theaters are making their season selections for 08-09. I'm new to this, so I'm getting a feel for the timing. The bigger ones -- the ones with literary interns and the ones with whom you have no shot -- seem to announce first. The bigger ones work quicker -- thanks to the literary interns. They can turn around a form rejection at breakneck speed.

I'm placing my hopes in contests, many of which are announced in April, and in the smaller theaters, who seem -- thanks to a lack of literary interns -- to work slower. But perhaps it's only a delay of eventual disappointment.

I am nearly finished with my second play (probably by the end of the month) and will ready myself for another paper offensive in May. I've actually grown to enjoy dropping off my scripts at the Fort Dearborn post office.

Some probably would advise me to take the "long view" for both plays: that lack of available slots for new work by unknown playwrights will push my eventual "break" (if it happens) toward an indeterminate date in the future. Creative writing encourages a certain monasticism and remove, allowing you to retreat into your work and shut yourself off from the "historical dimension." It's just that when you return to town with your handiwork do you wonder if anyone cares (or whether it matters) how many revisions you did or how many times you re-read the lines.

But we fight anyway. And when I look at my plays, and I am filled with pride in knowing I did them the right way, and I am still systematically rejected, well, I suppose that's the literary equivalent of dying on your feet in battle.

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