First Day of Rehearsal

Today was first day of rehearsal for my play Love Person at Mixed Blood Theatre. I had the first seed of an
idea for Love Person while
I was working on Sweet Nothing in my Ear
at Mixed Blood. At the same time I was researching Sanskrit for a
different project, and it struck me that there is a similarity between
the two
languages. Something about the sentence structure, and how direct they
are, straightforward yet poetic. And I began to wonder if it is
possible for two people to
fall in love on the basis of language alone. Because they understand
each other in some deep way that for instance English speakers can’t.
And how interesting it would be if those two people were a Deaf lesbian
and an isolated Sanskrit professor. 20 some drafts later here we are,
gearing up for the world premiere, with two more productions scheduled
in California and Indiana.

I
was nervous this morning, and I couldn’t figure out why. For a
playwright, at least compared to the actors and director, first day of
rehearsal is fairly low pressure. I know I have a fair amount left on
my to do list, work that just couldn’t happen until the actors,
signers, technology were gathered in the same place, so there’s some
pressure to be inspired on cue- people have lines to memorize, blocking
to create, lights to focus- but all in all, not that much is expected
of you. And yet I was nervous. And when Risa, the director, began her
opening comments, I knew why. She smart, she’s spent a lot of time
analyzing the inner workings of my play, she sees patterns in the
themes and arcs that I never put into words or even realized I wrote,
and she knows me intimately. Not only that, she’s telling people about
me intimately. ‘This play asks hard questions, like how do we continue
on in our relationships, even when embracing the obstacle is easier
than embracing our lover,’ and all I can think is ‘my personal life is
none of your business, lady!’ and then she turns to me to make sure I
agree with what she’s saying, and what am I going to do, lie?

‘Yes.
Yes, relationships are hard. Yes, I use a lot of sarcasm when I fight
with my husband. No, I don’t think it’s healthy, but it works for me.
No, I don’t think he really listens.’

And no one is looking at me
like I’m naked, so I have to assume the nudity is all in my own head. I
did go to a fair amount of trouble (20-some drafts) to ensure that my
secrets were evenly distributed among 4 characters, 5 languages, and a
whole lotta technology. But if this is what first read through feels
like, I can’t imagine opening night. A dozen friendly faces around the
rehearsal table are a world away from 200 semi-strangers in a dark
house. I’ll sit near the exit.

Tomorrow is intensive table work.
I think I’m ready for it. I already took my clothes off after all, how
much worse can it get? Intimacy gets easier, soon I won’t even notice,
a couple of weeks and I’ll be peeing with the door open. OK, now that I
wrote that I feel exposed again, but I’m letting it stand, because
theater is not for wussies. Mental note to blog about something other
than nudity tomorrow.