Getting a play onstage is taking a lot longer than I thought, even though I’d been warned repeatedly that it’s generally years from genesis of idea to actual performance. Colleagues tell stories about the development process, about rewrites and readings and workshops and more rewrites. But it’s my first play and I’m only now feeling the truth of their words.
Add into our process the fact that both parties involved are also working on other things at the same time – and I can see now how a a play could hang around for years before debuting onstage.
Since mounting this play occupies so many of my thoughts and nags me constantly, even when I’m doing something else, it seems like a good time to chronicle some of the “making of.”
The play is called “The Glory Road” and it’s recently been revised (again.) We’ve whittled down the cast size and focused the action on just one main story (You don’t even want to know how many storylines were woven through earlier versions) and now we’re talking with theatres about moving forward to an opening date.
The “we” in this story is me and the director, Greg Zerkle, who’s been with this project for years and is responsible for urging me (I’m the playwright) to trim and focus and simplify staging and timelines and make all manner of efficient, dramatic changes. I only follow his advice when I agree with him (it is my story after all) but it’s surprising how often, after arguing my point for hours, I do eventually agree and we come up with a compromise that we both think enhances the play. This is no accident. This happens because Greg is, I believe, a genius with a vision.
Greg’s a multi-faceted theatre talent. He acts and sings and directs and is performing right now in a show at Laguna Playhouse. A few days ago he closed in a revival of South Pacific in southern California. So we work between his rehearsals and the rest of our endeavors.
Greg’s wife, Cindy Marty, another multi-talented actor and singer, is gracious about the amount of time Greg spends on The Glory Road. Cindy performed at our most recent reading in Los Angeles and knocked our collective socks off.
So far the “making of” is fascinating. I never thought something as painful as editing could prove to be so satisfying. Maybe I’ll post as we progress, and we’ll all find out together whether the end result was worth all these years. I’m hopeful.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in background information on our subject matter, see www.thegloryroad.com.
Ó Anita Garner