Feeling Pretty


Monday was a good day.  It didn’t start that way, but it’s funny how one thing can change your entire outlook on the day.

Sunday night and early Monday morning were devoted to completing the next draft of my play “Mommy’s Mask”.  I had started writing the play 5 years ago when I took a playwriting class with Brad Fraser, but I had stopped working on it when the class ended.

The story was inspired by some Mask work that I had done at the National Theatre School over 25 years ago and has been bouncing around in my head waiting to be told.  The piece is darker than most of my other plays, so it is a little harder to write it.

After completing the draft, I was frustrated because it still felt like a preliminary sketch.  Although I think I had improved the story a little, it felt like I hadn’t accomplished much.  And since I was presenting the play that evening at the Theatre Aquarius Playwrights Unit, there wasn’t really any time to do anymore work on it.

I was angry at myself for not making better headway with the piece.  I was despondent thinking that this idea, which has occupied some mental real estate for over two decades, sucked.  And I knew I could do better, but it’s challenging finding time because I have other projects on the go.

My cell phone rang as I was getting on the GO train, so I let it go to voice mail.  When I listened to the message, I was astounded.  It was Claire Calnan telling me that “Mommy’s Mask” had won first prize in the 2014 Hamilton Fringe Playwriting Contest.  I called her back and repeated slowly what I had heard her say.  I needed to hear it again to believe it.

When she confirmed the news, I mentally made a checkmark on my Bucket List Item #88: Win a Playwriting Contest.  Woo Hoo!  If I had been at home, I would have been jumping around and screaming for joy.  I experienced the same release of endorphins though, because I was jumping around in my mind.

Now, I know contests like this are subjective and one group of judges will pick something that another group wouldn’t pick.  And there are other things to worry about now:  I have to do another revision of the piece, I have to start thinking about directing it, I need to find a cast, I need to find a place to rehearse, and I have to deal with the internal pressure of doing a show that is very different from my previous plays and wondering how people will react to it.

But, instead of thinking of all those things, I’m going to savour the moment a little longer.  I won a contest.  People picked my play without knowing who wrote it.  It made me feel “pretty” (as my daughter likes to say).  And everyone should feel “pretty” or special every once in a while.

A special shout out to Victoria Murdoch and Ron Fromstein, the first and second runners up.   I hope you guys feel “pretty” too!

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