Ever watch that trainwreck of a reality TV show Intervention? Compelling viewing, wasn’t it, watching the details of a human tragedy unfold with the promise of redemption and release always hanging the air? See now, I’m living in my own private script intervention, complete with a rehab program, and turns out, it’s far from entertaining. Damn right unpleasant.
They try to make me go to rehab, I say, oh, oh, oh….
A couple of years ago I wrote a play as a result of a little visualisation exercise at a workshop. The guru running this workshop gave us an hour to write a full synopsis of the play based on what we had thought about in the visualisation. My brain responded really well under the pressure (note to self- apply pressure often), and I managed to come up with a synopsis that sang off the page.
Not long afterwards, I wrote Act 1, diligently sticking to the original synopsis. Gasp, it was good. More than good, it got the attention of Queensland Premier’s Award panel, who were keen on it being developed. I didn’t end up winning that guernsey, but I soldiered on to send the script to the Playwriting Australia, who also loved it. They set the script up for development in a series of fantastic workshops in Sydney working with brilliant actors and a great dramaturge and great director.
Script wanted an Act 2.
I came up with an Act 2.
Nobody especially liked it.
So I went away and rewrote Act 2, – not just tinkering, a full re-write, different scenes, totally different plot — and then I put it in again to the same mob. Nobody especially liked the new Act 2 but Playwriting Australia had faith enough in Act 1 to put the play through another creative development and to be read at the national conference, on the proviso that I had a totally different Act 2 written in time.
So I wrote yet another Act 2.
This was Act 2 version 3.
It was read on stage at the National Playwriting Conference.
Yeah, nobody liked it.
Epic fail. On a national scale. Oh well. You get that.
But you can see a pattern developing here, can’t you? It’s that bugger of an elusive Act 2.
Having written and re-written entirely new and different Act 2 scripts three times, I was thinking the gig was up. Shelve this monster. Box it. Burn it. Whatever. Retitle it “The Play That Would Not Be Written”. It was the derelict tramp ‘also ran’ of my playwriting career. Coulda bin a contender. Wasn’t.
Then the other day, at a weekend big chill with my two JUTE co-founders, Suellen and Susan, the butcher’s paper and felt markers came out. There was an intervention. The notations of which are now tacked onto my bookshelf behind me for easy reference.
For what it’s worth, this crazy script is back in rehab. I owe it to the Act 1 that got the eager attention of so many good people to find it’s Act 2.
I’m hoping that rehab brings redemption and release.