Armin Wiebe is an award-winning author. But even more exciting, he is a first time playwright. Tonight is the opening night of Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven Blatz. Armin kept a journal of the journey of getting his first play to the stage. And he graciously shares some entries with you.March 21
We lost the carrots today. In an earlier draft of the play one of the scenes took place outdoors, and there was a pail of freshly pulled carrots. One of the characters rubs a carrot clean and hands it to another to eat. There is no longer a real carrot in the play, and in the interest of speeding up the pace of the play, the still-remaining references to carrots are cut. This is the day of life by a thousand cuts, the day of pruning, losing the precious remnants of previous drafts. It is much like pulling weeds in the garden to reveal the flowers. It is a gingerly ruthless process, for at this stage in the development of the play it is not always obvious which is a weed and which is a flower.
Actors can be tenacious in their pursuit of getting the role right and at times they behave like MRI machines in the way that they slice up the script and discover tiny tumors that have appeared benign to me, and to the director, lines that are lovely, dripping with emotion, lines that voice essential motivations in the play, but upon careful scrutiny do not belong in the place I have written them. Reluctant snip-snip.
It takes stamina to rehearse a play, especially a new play, especially my play. Ten to six, six days a week--intense days they are too. Delving into a character in order to become that character in performance involves mind and body.
Each day, though, I see the director and the actors bringing the play closer to what I think I imagine the finished performance to be, a synthesis of the comic (frequently bordering on farce and slapstick)and the poetic, the dramatic, and the musical elements of the script.The writing of the play is one journey; rehearsing and producing the play is another journey. In the end it will be the journey the audience experiences while attending the play that matters most. Armin Wiebe