Sunday, November 04, 2007

NaNoWrinKle and tech week doubts

So they don't have the handy-dandy status bars this year, at least not that I've seen. If you click on the link in the sidebar, though, it'll tell you that I have a paltry 1300 words completed after four days of NaNo.

Sadly, even this is an overstatement. They are once again the wrong set of words. My guess is that I'll start getting words on paper for real on probably the sixth, which is more or less when I started last year.


Tech week on the show started today. For non-theatre folk, this is the week before a show opens, when you typically work the show on the actual stage and figure out the lighting and sound cues, adjust the blocking to fit the space, and begin running the entire show, in order, in the costumes or clothing you'll be wearing for the actual performances, with props in hand. These rehearsals are often long, arduous affairs, and tech week is also commonly called "hell week."

Usually, a show is already on its feet by the time this process begins. We run it again and again to iron out any last glitches or to make a choice stronger, more realized. For this show, however, there are still pieces we have to run with scripts in our hands, still blocking issues across the board. The show has been plagued with bad luck and problems from the start, but I feel a panic right now that I am not used to feeling this close to an opening.

Perhaps I will elaborate on some of the bad luck at another time.

And still, I think we can pull this off. Crushingly optimistic, perhaps, but it may also be that I have no choice but to believe that the show will open and that people will like it. No choice but to believe that we will know our lines and move when and where we are supposed to and deliver the lines with all the spontaneity, high stakes, and realism we need to carry the pieces across. And I try to remind myself that I am frequently told that I am an incredibly harsh critic when it comes to something I am involved in. Just ask anyone from my former band.

I myself am in six different short pieces. Trying to assess things objectively, I'd say three or possibly four of them are where they need to be, or are close enough that polishing over the next five nights could get them there. One of these is a monologue, and entirely on my shoulders. Two have been worked enough, and the other actor talented enough, that I think they can play correctly (in spite of how they might have played tonight). Of the ones I still feel unsure about, one is designed to be presented as a cold reading, so that's more or less ready to go, too, such as it is. Which really only leaves one gigantic question mark in the mix: the full ensemble piece which features all six actors and closes the evening.

Right now, my gut says to throw my weight, energy and time into the five that are closest to being ready. Those are all scenes which feature only one other actor each, so I can afford much less to slip up or let the other performer down. We'll be on our own up there, and whether it's the scene that involves kissing a fair maiden or the one where I nearly get into a fistfight with a man over a game we are playing, I want to make sure that I give the other actor what they need to make the scene seem true.


Wow. I had no intention of writing about all of this tonight. I guess it's a difficult thing to wipe away a nine-hour rehearsal.

Still, I could have sworn I sat down to write about my lack of progress on NaNo. I'm sure I intended to try to say something positive to any of my readers and fellow NaNo-ers who are also feeling discouraged by their current word counts.

Because thirty days is really a good chunk of time. So is the twenty-five days which remain. Anything can happen. So long as we are setting aside the time and trying to push through the difficult parts, we can still find ourselves later in the month crossing the finish line, exhausted and flushed from our labors, with a tiny curl at the corners of our lips that says we have been victorious.

Advice, I suppose, I should also try to take to heart where the play is concerned. Even though the window is smaller, there is still a lot that can still happen to make this show special.


Moon Topples, Advice Columnist is still waiting to help you with all the problems you might have in this world (or others*). Send your queries and quandaries using the email address in the left sidebar (rather than leaving them in the comments) and I will ponder your difficulties as if they were my own, solving them so easily that you will feel a little silly for considering it a "problem" in the first place, but not in such a way as to make you feel bad. I would never do that to you, Blogadviceseeker.

I plan to begin answering the questions I have already received later this week.

*Offer excludes Jupiter. Jupiter knows why.


Reading the Signs said...

Mr. Moon, at first I read your word count with an extra 0 at the end and was about to send urgent missive asking to know what you were on and where I could get it. But 1300 is still words, and never mind wrong or right at this stage.

Feel a bit sorry for Jupiter.

Taffiny said...

Good morning Mr. Topples. The moon comes out far too late for me.

I was sitting here feeling sad about the lack of having any descent fruit, about the house, for breakfast, and very apprehensive about doing today's nano writing (which involves stuff like moving back and forth from present to the past), BUT then I read your blog, and now all I can think is THANK GOD I AM NOT IN A PLAY. Oh and I feel so much better, so the fruit wont be good, so the writing will be bad, still at least I am not in a play. There is some hope for me, some suggestion that my concerns are manageable. Yes, life is good, after-all.

What? Oh! Where is your pep talk? Hmmm....The play sounds very exciting, stressful but exciting, all that nervous energy, all that intensity brought to moments on stage. Yes, a lot can happen in a week, and usually does with these sorts of things. Don't they always come together at the last minute? It will all come together, I have absolute faith in it ( I do also however have faith that this week will suck).

I am sorry that you are having such a run of bad luck.

Nano nano- I thought the whole point of Nanowrimo, was that we were not to stress over our word choices, that we were merely to begin, and having done so, to go on and on, till we got to the end. Course correcting if necessary as we go, but not going back, not starting over, just turning from where we are. And then after we got to the end, we could go back and re-write it, edit it. (like in December).

Nano-me-I am finding horrible things out as I go, incredibly redundant being am I. Yes my story is called Echo but come on, everything shouldn't be echoing- words, imagery, ideas! Ugh! But I am not going back, and I am not figuring it all out now. No, I am going on, and dragging it all along with me. (clanking like lines of cans)

Ha, I see your long post, and raise you a super duper long comment! :)

Take care Moon.

Liz Dwyer said...

I love Taffiny's thoughts on Nano. I think I'm writing boatloads of crap and then some shining gem emerges from the refuse. I'm having a good time. Don't worry about your word count. There's lots of time left for you. Plus, haven't you done this before?

Also, give me some advice on my situation I wrote about yesterday on my blog. I'd love to know what you think.

The Moon Topples said...

Signs: No, do not spare a thought for Jupiter. Again, it knows why. And knows also that until it apologizes to me, it is no more a planet than is Pluto.

Taffiny: Yes, you can count not being in a play among your blessings. They do not always pull together at the last minute. I still have no clue if this one will. And, yes, the point of NaNo is to send your internal editor away and simply write for the month, but I've never been good at following rules.

Liz: Your blog problem was a touching and true thing, and I would not sully it with my "humorous" advice persona. Still, I left you a comment as myself, and wish you the best in all things.