i’m thinking about theatre. look out.
The moment that I realized that I had a grown-up job was when I woke up on a Friday, drove to work, met some co-workers at the door and we all shouted “It’s Friday!” with our hands in the air “raising the roof.”
Friday used to be just another day. Now it’s the highlight of my work week. Well, it’s an even bigger deal around here, because on Fridays they bring in coolers of beer and plates of food and we have the weekly “Friday Beer Bash.” (as I typed that last statement a co-worker came in with the money fund container for the food for the bash. Tivoli pays for the beer, we all pitch in for the food).
I assume it’s at this point that you decide I do indeed have the cushiest job in the world, and you don’t ever want to hear another word from me whining in the slightest about my job. Beer on Fridays. What kind of dorm room existence do I work in? It does make Fridays seem like even better workdays…
But that’s what I was trying to say earlier. I’m feeling like a grown-up because of my giddiness for the end of the week. It’s not like my weekends are all lax and I hang out at the park… I usually have shows and rehearsals and such, so it’s not like I get a big break on the weekends… I’m just so glad to not be here. And the only reason that I complain about this job is I sit at this desk so often that I get terribly restless.
But if I worked at home, I think I’d go insane. When I’m home for a few days because I’m sick or out of work or on vacation, I start feeling really lazy and unproductive and I start hating myself and thinking that I’ll never do anything with my life and then I have a big spaz attack and leave the house. If my house was my job, I’m sure I’d just babble away into a sanitarium.
I borrowed a book from a friend yesterday. It’s called Plays for Actresses. First off, in case there’s any debate, women in theatre prefer to be called “Actors” as well. We don’t need a sex distinction. But anyway, the book is written by male and female playwrights, and they are all female casts and is supposed to have all these groundbreaking roles for women. Tina Howe, one of my favorite playwrights, has a play in there. So does Edward Albee (Three Tall Women, duh.). The prerequisite Wendy Wasserstein is in there… but what I really want someday is for someone to pick up a collection of plays and say, “Ooh, there’s a pamie play in there. I’ve got to borrow this.”
But how to make that happen? How do I get my plays produced? I sent my first play to a playhouse a few years ago and a year later I happened to be in their office and I found my play and read their remarks.
Something like: “Very funny. Great characters. Concerned about the broken glass on the floor. Doesn’t have a world message.”
And that was it. I didn’t have a world message.
And I’m going to let you in on a secret that could kill me as a writer forever: I don’t want a world message.
I enjoy writing plays that make people laugh and see themselves or others in them and they have a great time and if they learn anything– hell, some bonus bang for your buck.
But I basically write plays made for having a great time on a date. I had a friend that joked I read too much Neil Simon growing up.
Austin theatre is funny. Funny-weird, not funny-ha-ha. You really have to have an agenda to get produced around here. “People” speak in a lot of “quotation marks” around here to get their “message” across, and I’m not about that. I don’t want to belittle the audience or be hipper than the audience or preach to the audience…. I just want the audience to laugh. To poke each other and whisper “you’re just like that” and get a little teary at the romance and feel. I want them to feel. If they don’t feel, they won’t think and if you just want them to think, they should be doing some research before seeing your play, and just leave their emotions with their coats in the closet. Who needs a heart for some of these plays? Oh, it just makes me so angry that no one is interested in comedic plays around here. There’s maybe one a year that’s a new work. All new work around here has to be “cutting edge,” “dangerous,” “cool.” And no one just wants to have a good time anymore.
But everyone will line up to see the old standbys (not that I’m dogging classic theatre, I love it as much as the next guy… probably more than the next guy). But no one is interested in seeing something new unless it’s snooty.
And that’s not the kind of town we live in. That’s why Austin theatre doesn’t reach everyone in this town. Most people here aren’t art whores. I want a theatre for the masses. I want a theatre that represents The People. I want to make people laugh.
Dammit, why do I have to make my characters sluts in the apocalypse to warrant a second reading?
Monks’ Night Out won an award in the Chronicle’s Best of Austin. Huzzah!
Best Funny SmellThe Big Stinkin’ International Improv & Sketch Comedy Festival
As if we needed another festival in this, the city of never-ending ftes. But when one is run this well, when it shines a light on Austin’s underappreciated comedy artists, and when it provides hours of gut-busting guffaws, it not only must be given its due, it must be celebrated! So we doff our jester’s cap to this jamboree of joy which, in three years, has grown to encompass 75 comedy companies and 55 shows, drawn humorists of the caliber of Fred Willard and Monteith & Rand, and made talent scouts on the coasts take note. Host troupe Monks’ Night Out runs the fest with efficiency and
smarts, keeps the quality high, and compares well with their big-name guests in the laugh-making game. Six months after, and our sides are still aching.
Hooray for us. If you are coming to Austin anytime soon, I highly recommend checking out the Best of Austin pages, as they are a pretty good representation of all the stuff Austin has to offer. Did that sound insincere? It wasn’t supposed to be insincere. I wasn’t being insincere, just so you know.
So there was a big ol’ fight going on in my guestbook, but it’s all been cleared up. So I apologize as well, for the women’s rights comment I made last week. We all love each other now. Me, the Brat and jazzbo are gonna go out and have a small slumber party. What cracks me up, is in the middle of all this bashing and name calling and expletives, there’s this cheese ad. Cheese ad! Someone signed my guestbook to see if I was interested in buying his cheese! Maybe he took too literally that I perform in the Velveeta Room.
Of course I went over to the site. Oh, like you wouldn’t. And on that site there’s a link to some model page where they will make you famous. Cheese and boobs, the perfect combo.