Tuesday, 3 July 2012

In Preparation for the Spontaneous

Toronto's Fringe Theatre Festival launches one of its most exciting traditions Tonight (can you sense my anxiety?!) at 6pm: The 24 Hour Playwriting Competition.

I've got a fridge full of healthy snacks and easy, tasty meal options that will keep me going, a possible concept, an acceptance that the 4 mystery items could take me in a different direction, and a list of the time it takes me to travel to each coffee shop in town AND their hours.

As a person who doesn't typically identify themselves as a writer, why would I compete in a competition whose sole goal is to write an entire play - that's an introduction, ascending action, climax, denouement, and conclusion - in a meager 24 hours?

I am competing because the competition offers so many rewards even greater in value than the prizes offered.

I am competing to challenge myself to not only start something new, but to finish it in an incredibly short amount of time. I have trouble committing to finishing projects, and I'm choosing to treat the competition as work ethic boot-camp; You paid your reading fee, now get cracking!

Creating full, dimensioned characters and situations can help to strengthen my work as a theatre designer.  When designing a costume, or a set, it is important to create a relationship with each character through research, imagination and discussion - either with the director/other designers, or with the character themselves.  To create whole entities from the ground up, the inside-out simultaneously as the outside-in, leads to more solid and effective imagery both in the possible staging and on the page.

I'm competing to share an unforgettable experience with others and create some good memories (even if my sleep deprived brain is apt to forget them). I know 5 out of the 60 people competing, and with prizes for the top 3 plays - including a staged reading of the top play - I could very well be cheering for someone when the winners are announced on July 11th. Though I have to write my show remotely from my little town, I've got a caffeine-and-FaceTime date set up for Thursday morning to keep up both our motivation, and laugh at each others tired face.

And best of all, I'm competing because I love to write.  It's a part of myself that I let fall by the wayside for so long, but if ever there was a way to bring it to the surface again, it has got to be this.  I'm writing so that I can begin to think of myself as a writer again. 

Mostly, though, I'm writing to learn something about myself.  To see when the time comes, if I choose sleep or writing.  If I let my imagination run away from me or if I harness it, or if I find myself completely at a loss.  I'm honestly not certain that I will even find the process to be entirely fun, but it certainly promises to be enlightening.


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