I had been bandying this play around (in my brain, on paper, to the occasional passerby) since 2008, but had really been hammering out drafts in earnest since last summer. In essence, this play was my baby.
My colicky, allergic, and stranger-phobic baby.
And the idea that this baby was going off to be seen and heard and judged by people who didn't even know about the multiple scene changes and character changes and coffee mug changes...and who didn't fully get how crazily I loved each scene and character and mug of coffee...
Well, it felt like I was sending my baby off to college. Or to a firing squad.
But then I remembered that I had a director in my corner; a gal who reminded me of the play's inherent sweetness, who promised me a production of which I could be proud, and who suggested that- maybe- I could write an ending? How about a different one? Let's try a third- yes, there's an ending.
And I had simply wonderful friends send flowers and thoughts from all over the place, and my parents sent chocolate-covered strawberries which, as everyone knows, is the traditional Opening Night Gift.
And I remembered that I had a cast who was so flippin' funny and full of heart and energy and patience for my tendency towards wordiness. And there was a production staff, too, who wanted this play to be exceptional- for the playwright and cast and their awesome theatre company (20%Theatre Chicago, whoopty whoop).
But I still had The Panics. And it didn't let up until I was sitting in the darkened theater with P.J. on one side and my director on the other, clutching their wrists as if my balance would keep the play from toppling.
And guess what, guys? It was good. The cast was hilarious, the storyline made more sense to me than it had in my 4am brain, and the audience applauded even though they didn't even know me. (I mean, some of them did. And those friends laughed extra hard. And I'll totally take it.) Granted, there was at least one reviewer who sat stony-faced throughout the whole thing, like she was watching Schindler's List performed in mime. But maybe the fact that the audience around her actually laugh/applauded between scene changes should color her review slightly?
Because here's the thing. People liked it. A lot. And I can finally breathe that breath of So, You Didn't Faceplant.
|Opening night: Me, 20% Theatre Chicago's Artistic Director (and one of our show's leads!) Lindsay Bartlett,|
and Girlfriend's fearless director, Amy Buckler. I love these people to the moon and back.
Hey, what's that? You need those details one more time? Well, okay:
Girlfriend, by Keely Flynn
April 25th-May 19th
Zoo Studios (4001 N. Ravenswood, Chicago)
Thurs-Sat, 8pm Sun 2pm
Industry Night Mon, May 6th, 8pm
(Wanna pay cash at the door? email email@example.com)
Thank you, friends and family, for coming and indulging and bolstering and laughing your heads off. You rock. 20% Theatre Chicago rocks. This gorgeous Chicago Spring weather rocks.
And so does napping. Napping is definitely gonna rock.