I’m taking a break right now from wrestling with rewrites on “Lightning and Jellyfish,” my new play that Butler University commissioned. More info on the premiere here: https://www.facebook.com/events/357940694350569/?ref_dashboard_filter=calendar
My style of rewriting plays isn’t the most efficient in the world, but it somehow works for me. Essentially, I start from the beginning and perform the play in my head…until I hit something that doesn’t feel right. Could be an unmotivated action, forced exposition, or a moment that feels like it should have been preceded by something. Then I tinker. If it’s minor, I go forward. If more significant, I do the work and then start at the beginning. Curtain up. Show begins again…until it stumbles.
That being said, there’s an enormous amount that I learn from hearing the play read by actors. On the first “living room read” of “L&J,” I realized that an entire scene needed to be added toward the end of the play. At the first reading with Butler’s actors, it became clear that a lengthy monologue had to be completely redone–and perhaps offered to a different character.
I love this process, as challenging as it can be.