I arrived at the rehearsal for my reading and was introduced to the actors. They were all age and gender appropriate, which is quite a treat. In our playwriting group when we have our plays read, the other playwrights read parts as required. So frequently you have men reading for women or women reading for men, young for old, etc.
Luke Brown (Artistic Associate at Theatre Aquarius and Director for the reading) asked me if there was anything I wanted to share with the actors. I told them that they were reading the fourth draft of this play. That I was a bit disappointed at the length of the play because I would like it to be a full length show. I was expecting to do more work on it, but was looking forward to hearing an audience’s reaction to it.
The actors read through the play once and they laughed at the right places. Then Luke went through some specific beats that he wanted to explore a little further. He asked the actors about their characters and motivation. They answered with the occasional glance at me for confirmation. It was all good. And then those specific parts were read over a couple of times.
Luke asked the actors if they had any questions or parts they wanted to work on. Those things were discussed and then reread.
All in all, it took about 90 minutes for the entire rehearsal process, including the full read through of the play.
There were a grand total of thirteen people (not including myself) that were at the reading. I was a little disappointed. I wanted there to be hordes of people so that everyone would feel comfortable enough to laugh. It is a comedy and I was so scared there wouldn’t be any laughter.
Of course, I knew all thirteen people, so I did feel a bit safer. Even if my play sucked, they would be nice.
It is so important to be able to put yourself in position where you can fail, so having a reading is great. Putting your work in front of an audience is important. It can help you find what things don’t work or enhance the things that do work. But, let’s face it, no one WANTS to fail.
I felt like I was about to jump off the high diving board. And then the reading started.
People laughed. They laughed a lot. They even drowned out the actors a couple of times. I sat in the front facing the actors, so it was easy to imagine that there were a lot more than thirteen people in the audience.
I even laughed a few times.
And then it was done. We didn’t have a Q&A session, but there were questionnaires that people could fill out. Most of the feedback was in the laughter. Man, I could bask in that laughter all day…