Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sleeping with Sage

To tell her story as honestly as I could it was imperative that I know Sage intimately. If that meant sleeping with her I was willing to make the sacrifice…to go the distance.

The genesis for writing a play or a novel or a screenplay is to understand your characters better than anyone else. Why not? You created them so you should shoulder the responsibility for understanding their actions, motivations, thoughts, fears, aspirations and even their darkest of secrets.

My goal was to get to know Sage better than anyone else ever had. I needed to get inside her mind, thoughts, personality, fears, phobias, cares and concerns. I had to understand what lay behind that rainbow fa├žade she so prominently displayed as a fixture of her past. She was a fascinating woman unlike any I had encountered before and yet an enigma in my mind.

If I had to (figuratively) sleep with her to get to where I was going, then I was willing to do that. My wife knows I’m a writer and as such I sometimes have to take desperate measures to reach my goal. All in the name of art…or in my case, simple story-telling.  Still even for a wannabe hippie sleeping with a fictional one proved to be a real challenge.

Constructing a story, or in this case writing a play and then producing it, turned out to be a lesson in perseverance, patience and fortitude. It became a journey into the minds, motives, emotions and back-stories of a lot of folks. It was taking all the personal information and then sharing it with the world or in this case, an audience full of expectant participants.

The first step was to write the play which is simply story-telling in its most stripped down, naked form. I wrote ‘Riot at Sage Corner’ as a spec play for the Second Act Players, a part of RAAC, the Rosemount Area Arts Council. I did so without any idea if it would work or be accepted by RAAC once it was completed.

First titled ‘Riot at Sunny Acres’ the play slowly evolved into its present-day form. There were dueling protagonists with Sage on one side and Margaret Maple, her arch-enemy and the other. There was a mysterious man nick-named ‘The General’ and enough underlying tension to blow the place apart at any moment.

After its acceptance by RAAC the really hard work began. That meant finding a common vision with the director and the producers. It meant traveling inside our collective heads and coming to an agreement on what we found there.

The second step was to find the right actors to portray my characters. Auditions were critical to find the right personalities for your fictional characters. Then rehearsals are meant to stir up the storyline, flesh out the characters, and give humanity to the pretenders on stage.

After weeks of intensive practice on and off stage, the dress rehearsal put all of our collective effort to the test. It was where all the kinks were (hopefully) worked out.

Finally, it was time for the performance where the audience hopefully will enjoy all our collective efforts at storytelling.

August 25th and 26th are the performance dates. The cast is ready. The crew is ready. Margaret is posed to stamp out problems with that aging hippie once and for all. Sage is ready to blow her mind; literally and figuratively.

Thursday and Friday at the Steeple Center in Rosemount. Tickets on line or at the door. Seating is limited. The ‘Riot’ starts at 7:00 pm.

Let the storytelling begin.

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