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I AM NOT A PLAYWRIGHT

There. Now that I’ve got your attention, I should probably inform you that I am probably a playwright. My caring and loving friends and professors keep telling me so. I remain skeptical.

In my little life, I’ve started plenty of plays. I have a marvelous routine. I get to page 8 or so, and then I promptly bury it in my Deepest Darkest Google Drive Depths, never to be seen again.
(There is one in there that I wrote in 2010 about the Disney Princesses drunkenly smack-talking each other. )
(SNL did it better.)
(… but I wrote it first.)

I am currently in a collaborative process where, for the first time ever, I am the playwright working with a dramaturg. This apparently means I am not allowed to bury my play in my Deep Dark Drunk Disney Drive Depths.

I love sharing my writing. I love writing my (too many) blogs, I love writing poetry and papers, I love, LOVE a well-crafted Facebook post, and my phone inbox is littered with messages asking for caption composition for friends’ Instagrams.

Still, playwriting feels different.
Was no one going to tell me that being the Generative Theatre Artist in the room can feel ….. terrible!?

In a moment of panic in class last week, I was struck by how heavily I suddenly identified with the RENT hit, “Over The Moon”! My inner monologue screlted about the CFA’s fourth floor classroom into a single microphone:

IIIIIIIIIIIIII’ve gotta get out of here! I feel like I’m being tied to the hood of a yellow rental truck being packed in with fertilizer *gasp* and fuel oil, pushed over a cliff by a suicidal Mickey Mouse!

Do u think Jon Larson wrote that lyric in a fit of playwriting panic and painful self-analysis? I do.

Anyway, every time we are prompted to go off and have a conversation about the play I am writing, my insides erupt. I am exposed! You know what I’m good at? Responding! Curating! Synthesizing! Your play! Don’t look at me! The light! It burns!

Today in a conversation with my dramaturg, I used what was certainly a device of deflection and avoidance – my voice was painfully present. There was not a lot of listening from my end, just a whole lot of yammering. In a moment, Imposter Syndrome clutched the steering wheel of the yellow rental truck-
Why am I talking so much??? I am leading this conversation!!!!! When will I stop speaking??? Real Playwrights don’t SPEAK! They BROOD!!!!!! …..S-so there! I’ve proved it! Haha! I am NOT a playwright! Suck it, support system of collaborative artists and friends who insist otherwise!!!

I haven’t felt this kind of doubt, fear, and overwhelm in a long long time. As I wept about it after class, I was reminded that these feelings mean I am probably doing something that is important and good for me. After all, how am I supposed bring new plays into this world if I’ve never been through the process myself?

If I’m being honest, it is just gonna take a …………………………………….. leap of faith 

maureen-johnson

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