Friday, February 27, 2009

Flexing the Writing Muscles

When I moved to Chicago, I was filled with ambition, both as an actor but particularly as a writer/spoken word artist. I had been doing the whole SLAM and Hiop Hop Theatre scene in both Portland, OR as a student, and in Florida during my MFA, but i was now moving to the self proclaimed "birth-place of spoken word!"

I had told myself to immerse myself in the writing scene, and hit up all the spots regularly performing my style of spoken word....but that didnt quite happen. Instead I've hit up the Green Mill a few times, been a featured performer, and done Public Enemy last year for thinkTank. The focus for the last two years in this city has been on acting...only. And thats been great! just fine with me, since thats what my degree is I've worked with Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf and Lookingglass to name a few, and been gaining really important professional experience.

So as you can imagine, its taken me a bit to flex that writing muscle and get back into the writing, while during the rehearsals so much of my energy has been in the actions, the motivations for each piece. I hunger to find specificity in choices on stage, how to enliven a piece, but thankfully with the editting and conversational help of my co-horts, the writing has come along grandly! as well!

Its an amazing feeling when it feels like things are chugging along, and you are artistically connecting to a piece both as a writer and hip hop kid, but also as an actor.

So for me, we are in that place right now, where the writing is all coming together, we are more and more satisfied with what is on the page, and now its time to build, create, make choices, make more choices, and bring it all onto the stage. That great, nitty gritty stuff that all actors love.

I was reading Hanif Kureishi's Strangers When We Meet, and he has a great thought in there. He says "The depth and passion Florence has on stage is clear to me. But, I know what an artist finds interesting about their own work, the part they consider original and penetrating, will not necessarily compel an audience, who might not even notice it, but only attend to the story."

Very well put.


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