For Worse: Feedback from Stacey on her monologue. Engineering these things for audience participation is tricky.
Mother Antonia: Phone call with Anya to hear her thoughts & questions. A foray into the CSJ’s digital archive to try to get a better handle on the limits on where and when the Sisters could leave the house; the Sister at the reading last night pointed out that the community tended to be pretty practical-minded when it came to getting women the education they needed. Got sidetracked into reading oral history interviews, re-reading others that strike me differently now that I have some familiarity with the (so to speak) cast of characters. One more rewrite, & then sent the rehearsal draft to the team.
It’s All Good: Emailing potential stage managers. Gathering plausible seventh-grade vocabulary words from Lord of the Flies (some of my favorites are today’s post title). Brainstorming potential titles.
The Last Game: Talked with Heather H. about her observations of/suggestions for the script. Among other thoughts, she raises the idea of a second act set some decades into the future. This doesn’t click for me; though it’s difficult to pick apart how much it fails to click on its own merits, and how much it fails to click because long, long ago, I got very tired of one faction of my writing group persistently trying to tack a second act onto Liability. In any case, Heather spots many places where payoffs can be added or enhanced, and the path ahead seems clear.
Mother Antonia: Finished a new draft just in time for reading #2, with an audience including not only the Alumnae Relations & Marketing/Communications staff but also a Sister of St. Joseph and Prof. Mary Ann Brenden, who has made a study of Mother Antonia and the Our Lady of Victory chapel she caused to be built. Stacey takes actor Megan Campbell Lagas, director Anya Kremenetsky and me to go look at the ballroom where the play will be performed. Anya has the idea of including a chalkboard with, written on it, the name of the putative class in which M. Antonia is administering her pop quiz, along with M. Antonia’s name, to set the scene.
Mother Antonia: Script reading for the St. Kate’s alumnae relations department. A tough crowd – hard to read – but they said afterward that they were absorbed by the piece, and they had cogent things to say about it. It’s both intimidating and satisfying to present material to subject matter experts. One of the alumnae has clearly studied St. Kate’s history in depth, to the point of being able to list its first accrediting body off the cuff. She mentioned only one factual gaffe on my part, so that feels like a win.
This will probably be the only time in my career I am able to set up “Cite your sources!” as a laugh line.
Megan Campbell Lagas is performing. She gives M. Antonia a nice dry wit and understated relish of her (many) victories.
Mother Antonia: Sent off draft 2. Sometimes when I’m doing a project that’s heavy on research there will be some little factoid that I painstakingly puzzle out, only to find that it was presented explicitly in some other source I had already read. Today I had that experience with my “discovery” that S. Ste. Helene Guthrie’s birth name was Florence. This is plainly stated in one of the first sources I read for this project, Karen M. Kennelly’s “An Immigrant Drama: The College of St. Catherine and Phi Beta Kappa.”
Everything Looks Like A Face: Email exchange with Elizabeth about the “overture/dumb show” section. In the discussion of one of the characters, I’m reminded of something I once heard about Meriwether Lewis, that he functioned better in relentlessly high-stress situations, but when he was back in the urban workaday world, he couldn’t keep the demons at bay. Hm. You never know what’s going to turn out to be (even briefly) relevant.
Everything Looks Like A Face: Rough Cuts presentation of the scenes in mosaic order. Last night, for the presentation in chronological order, I felt the audience was almost wholly with us throughout; this time, less so. But judging from the comments, a number of people “got it” – we don’t always experience life in chronological order, we’re constantly cutting out to visit the past or the future. Also, there were things I liked better about this order, particularly the scene between young Kai and Dylan in the quarry at the end, which lands harder if you know what becomes of them later. Don’t know what we’ll end up doing with the scene order but I’m glad we did the experiment of presenting it both ways.
Everything Looks Like A Face: Rough Cuts presentation of the scenes in chronological order. Audience particularly rapt for “Linny Won’t Talk To Me” and “I Wanted A Medal.” The big question: will the audience hang in there with us for the presentation in mosaic order tomorrow?
Mother Antonia: the folks at St. Kate’s who commissioned the piece are ok with the direction I’m taking it. Next draft due 3/28.
Everything Looks Like A Face: Responding to material from Elizabeth; working with her on a postcard blurb for the Rough Cuts performance.