It happens very slowly…this matter of moving a play from mind to paper to printer to mail to stage. Sometimes I wait months, sometimes years, to hear back from a reader or producing company; but most of the time, a playwright doesn’t hear at all. My triumph is in completing the ritual of putting a new play in the mail. Then I’ve learned to move on to the next new play—no waiting. I understand that if I lived in New York it would be different…if I could catch the eye of anyone not busy making money on the commercial stage and actually wanting to read a play not seen a hundred times already.
So I was very pleased when I introduced myself to Sharon (the lady of many afO hats) and to Lauren (the director of American Primitive), and they wanted to talk ‘theater’ with me—right there on the spot. I seized the opportunity to have someone read and respond to a play. Rather, several plays. Lauren said she loved to read scripts and to bring’em on. She read, responded with notes, re-read, and arranged for a reading in my house.
I was enchanted with the cold reading performance. It all fit together. It said what I wanted the play to say in celebration of Christmas. These wonderful voices brought the meaning of my family and Christian heritage clearly into focus. I have a play ready to go thanks to the attention and encouragement of Lauren and afO readers, ready in a few months.
But maybe you don’t understand. It’s not supposed to happen this way. In fact, I hadn’t even gotten to the stage of “Be patient, Ruth, and wait on the Lord.” Fourth Act at Fourth Presbyterian in Chicago also gave the script a reading for their small drama group. More interest; more insight. But mostly, Sharon and Lauren were open to my work. I sometimes wonder how my thoughts, words, and sentences stream together—characters laughing, fighting, loving, forgiving—on paper.
I only know that it’s my role to write, and I’m grateful that afO is here in Fort Wayne.
I am truly joyful that I’ve had this opportunity to work with afO in the development process!
Ruth Tyndall Baker, playwright