The only word I can use to describe last week is incredible. Twenty-three of my classmates and I spent 36 hours writing, casting, directing and preparing to put on a play. A play on which I received multiple compliments when we finished.
We wrote the play on Thursday morning. By Thursday afternoon, our professor turned us loose and said he expected us to be ready for a read-through at 3p. I quickly learned that certain parts of the decision process need all twenty-four voices, while other parts of the process need a select few to take the lead. The other difficulty was confronting the elephant in the room. My classmates and I had just read 17 scenes and while I commend each person, let's be honest, they didn't all fit and there was too much material for a one hour play. After cutting the scenes to 14, we realized something else no one anticipated. One scene that was voted quite unanimously as a yes had no one interested in acting in it. It was apparently a bit over the top as far as language and insinuations, so we cut it. After the scenes were casted, I made a quick order based on how the group decided they wanted an overall order to look. We were indeed ready for our first read-through at 3p and though our processor and his friend were encouraging, they likely wanted to say, good play, the order sucks.
Criticism, no matter how constructive, is something with which I've been working since I started at Darden. What is the appropriate way to handle feedback? Thinking someone with more experience and a new set of eyes is wrong, leads the process at a standstill. Luckily, one of my classmates stepped up to the challenge and was willing to stare endlessly with me at the order of scenes. How were we going to take thirteen different scenes, half of which discussed marriage and the other half of which discussed funerals, and completely tie them together. I left at 6:30p on Thursday night for dinner, distraught. There was no way we were going to pull this off. We had no direction other than to "fix" it. Multiple people had ideas, but no one wanted to execute. Everyone had their scenes, no one wanted to learn new lines or take on additional roles. I returned at 8:30p for my first rehearsal (we were short of girls, so I ended up in 2 scenes). The rehearsal went well and I met with my group for my second rehearsal. We were watching two people prepare their scene (one was the "wedding planner" and the other was the "undertaker", staring at the order and all of a sudden, everyone had the same idea. What if this scene was changed and these people essentially used their lines to introduce the subsequent scenes. We wrote some new lines, changed these people's original scene and found a new order. Somehow the pieces fell into place!!
Friday, I felt much better. We shared the idea with the rest of the cast and received little fuss. It worked! With each dress rehearsal, we got better. By the final show, people were sincerely impressed with our accomplishments. It was an incredible feeling! Not to mention, I also ended up with a bouquet of flowers, a farewell gift for Sweden (cashmere hat and scarf!!), and a handful of grades which make me proud! The cast finished the night with pizza and beer at Mellow Mushroom, a well earned treat after a hard workweek! During the week, I definitely made some new friends and learned more about my classmates. If asked to do it again, hands down, I would!!
Friday was an incredible day!