So today was my reading and the reason I delayed posting this is that I’m still a little overwhelmed.
It went well. It…went really well.
It started a little rocky because that long wordy first scene that I was worried drags a bit? Well, it drags a bit. But Scene 2 kicked everything into high gear and it just motored from there. I was really happy with how it was going.
Then it ended and after the applause the three judges (sorry, sorry mentors) got up to give their feedback.
And they were crying.
As Ms Mouse said later when I told here “That could be very good or very bad”. It was good crying, not “what have you done to theatre?” crying but as I found out later, the play touched a nerve with this American audience that I didn’t anticipate.
The ending of the play is sad, to be sure. Nikolai South agrees to be framed in exchange for the freedom of Lily, an artificial intelligence whom he has come to love. He spends almost thirty years in prison and is tortured and psychologically broken, losing his sight and his mental faculties.
Finally a revolution sweeps the old order away and he is reunited with Lily, but he is so damaged by his ordeal he can scarcely even remember her. So not cheery stuff but that wasn’t what elicited such a strong reaction from the audience.
There’s a character called Nadia, comic relief in some respects, a very young functionary in the new government. She’s overwhelmed, emotional, overworked and swinging wildly between extremes of joy and grief.
She’s the first character in the play who’s not living with the perpetual fear of death. And you know that if this nation is now being run by people like her it’ll be all right. The last lines of the play are Lily and her husband looking out over a post revolutionary landscape.
HUSBAND: It’s a wreck. It’s a wreck run by children.
LILY: Yes. Let’s see what they build.
Sonetimes people read things into your work that you never thought of or expected. For these Americans, this story of young people finally taking control and casting down an old brutal order…
Well, it hit pretty hard.
It was humbling to see. And I can never repay them.
I was also roped in last minute to narrate Tom Barna’s Past, Present, Future, a post apocalyptic retelling of the nativity. Rehearsal’s today, reafing tomorrow.
Tonight’s production was Sycorax, a one woman show about the mother of Caliban. Before the show started we were informed to our shock that Demene Hall, who plays Sycorax, had had collapsed in rehearsal and had to be evacuated out of Alaska for medical treatment. Instead, the play was read by its author, Y York, and dedicated to Demene.