A big plus for me is to hear my new plays read by actors, or readers. The words in my head going on the paper, and then out of their mouths is beyond elation for me. It is almost indescribable this joy to hear a new play. Especially a new play about Hanford’s historical event the Mussel Slough Tragedy.
It begins in my head and typed into a computer. As a first draft is materialized, I find that I can go no further until I hear it at a table-read. A table-read is where actors are handed a script and they read it aloud. I listen and take notes to adjust the script.
There can be numerous table-reads. Each time I take notes, ask the actors questions, and go back to the computer. In the case of this current play titled THE MUSSEL SLOUGH CHRONICLES – A CALIFORNIA TRAGEDY, I contact historians on the subject, re-read books on the subject, and prepare for actors to read the script again.
At a certain point, the script has evolved to a staged reading. A director will guide the actors to represent the work in front of an audience. Here again, I will take notes and not just listen to the words from the actors but study the audience on their reaction to the script.
Often in staged readings, the audience voices their opinions. If they have questions they can ask the actors, director, or even the playwright. If there are many questions, it could mean that there was not clarity in the script. Another draft is then necessary.
The plan for this play about the Mussel Slough is to allow the Hanford audience to be involved in the creative process. There are descendants from this tragic event. For example, the great-grandson of one of the shooting victims is planning to see the play. This is quite exciting to this playwright.
We do not have a date for this staged reading today, but we are eager to do when we find a couple of more actors. However, we are doing staged reading rehearsals to give life to a historical event in a building that was existing at that time. That building is at 14060 Hackett Street, cared for by the Kings County Historical Society.