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  • Kate Lentz

{To Be or..?}

So...I’m officially a playwright. Bit random, I know. I wasn’t sure if this was something I wanted to talk about on this art blog, but I firmly believe writing to be a major influence on my art. Just like art influences the writing, as does music. It’s all part of me and part of the process. So why NOT mention it, right?


Guess I should go back to a few months ago.


A lovely friend of mine sent me a message one afternoon and asked if I had any scenes “laying around” that could be submitted to the playhouse. Just a few things:


  1. I ADORE theater people because only they would think there was an abundance of scripts strewn about in every home like candy wrappers.

  2. I obviously knew what a scene was but...like...I didn’t know what a scene was?

  3. So I made the assumption that meant “One Act.”

  4. I did NOT have any one acts readily available.


In fact, I had never written a whisper of a play before. Only short stories, a book, and really REALLY shit poetry.


My first inclination was to immediately say, “Uh...no, Friend. I do not.” But I paused.


Why did I pause?


Hmm...well, maybe I could write something, right? I had a few ideas rent-free in my head for years. Maybe, just maybe, these could be turned into a play of sorts. So, I hit google hard.


How long is a one-act? How many characters? What is the formatting? Do I need a dance number included in there somewhere?


The truth is, I had absolutely NO idea what I was doing. I started typing out just some stage directions and figured I’d keep the characters down to two. I assumed this would be a live stream, so less was more. It took a little bit but eventually I found a groove. Hard to believe but in less than 24 hours, I had 12 pages of a first draft...which was basically the scene that I wanted. I sat on it for another day, did a little finagling, read the script out loud with my husband and sent it to my friend. No one was more surprised than me, but honestly it felt as good as running around the block or doing a couple of jumping jacks. I was exhilarated!


A couple of days later, I found out that my script was no longer needed at the playhouse. And that was that.


OR SO I THOUGHT!


My friend reached out again and recommended that I submit my script to a new theater company. It was a group that started basically because of COVID. Live theater, but...from the comfort of home. So I thought, what the hell? I submitted the one act. I was pleased to hear back from the director right away. She loved the script but requested that I tweak it a little bit so it was more “Zoom friendly” if possible. At first I was skeptical. I honestly really loved the original script and I wasn’t sure I could picture it off of a stage and into a screen. After a few days of sitting on the idea, I went back in and hacked it up a little. In the end, I think the Zoom version might be better in several ways. I’d still love to one day go back to the original script, but...due to the current fuckery of the world, this works just fine and dandy.


After a few back-and-forth emails, about a month of nothing, and the holidays, I received an email officially announcing January One-Acts. The playwrights (holy shit, are they talking about me?!) would join a read-through, a rehearsal, and the final rehearsal, then BAM! Production at the end of January. I was thrilled. I was proud. I...completely wanted to vomit.


I remember feeling sick the entire day before our first read-through of the script. First of all, I didn’t actually know if what I wrote would WORK. Second, I had never met the two people who would be playing my characters. And third, I kind of suck at Zoom calls. Take my awkwardness and multiple it times 30 million. Ugg.


Anyway, turns out I was completely worried for no reason. The two actors were absolutely incredible. I honestly felt that the read-through was “stage”-ready. But I found the process to be helpful because there were a few bits of the script that didn’t flow as well as I would have liked. I made a few edits the next morning and sent the final script off to the actors. The next time I heard the script was for the final dress rehearsal. And I’ll be real. I cried...a lot. I don’t think I have ever experienced a crazier moment than when I watched these complete strangers turn into characters I created in my head. Words that I thought would never see the light of day...all of a sudden are being transmitted into the universe. Now I don’t know what would ever happen if my scripts were produced on an actual stage, but I can’t imagine it being any more surreal than this. Highly recommend.


Last weekend was opening weekend. I was obviously on pins and needles all day. Despite a few hiccups with tech and some nerves from the actors, the show was exactly what I pictured in my head. I was so proud. Sure, I wish I could have been surrounded by an audience so my actors could feed off of the emotion of the room, but I am still incredibly thankful for the opportunity and experience.


After our first script reading, I felt so inspired that I ended up writing five more one-acts in about a month. I don’t know if these will ever see the light of day, but the thought that I have an entire show-length collection of works brings me absolute joy. I kept it as simple as possible in case I end up recording these in my home or the playhouse...It will be minimal sets, only two people, and the same actors if I can swing it. I don’t know if it’s appropriate to say this, but I was inspired by my work...I wrote one and it just...continued from there. The feeling of starting something without having a clue of what I was actually doing then seeing it come to life…I mean...I want more of that. All of that. Over and over again.


Anyway, I know this is a departure from my usual “traditional” art blogs, but I think any time you create something out of nothing and bring it into the world, it should be celebrated. So cheers...cheers to getting out of comfort zone and feeling inspired to keep going!




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