So my attention might be a bit divided.
But I’m feeling inspired to take a cue from one of my favorite sports writers, who often composes running diaries during major sporting events.
So here goes nothing.
9:30 PM – I’m watching a Chevy Volt commercial.
Okay, this isn’t going to work. Let’s go back a bit it to…
Thursday, September 29th
I receive an email from Shannon Marcotte, Senior Marketing Manager at Roundabout, asking me if I’d like to write a series of blog posts. I enthusiastically agree.
Friday, September 30th
I realize that I’ve never written a blog in my life. I get nervous. I look up ‘blog’ on Wikipedia. This is not a good start.
Saturday, October 1st
I get up at 4:30 AM to catch a flight from Austin back to New York. I’m currently in grad school at the University of Texas, and I’ve been back in class during our second week of rehearsal. I fuel up on Jet Blue coffee, make some rewrites on the flight over, hop in a cab at JFK, and high tail it to the rehearsal room, where…
I’m blown away by the strides that (director) Jonathan Berry and the cast have made. Seriously, I feel so lucky to work with this group of artists. Jonathan directed our production back in Chicago and I couldn’t be happier to have him at the helm again. And this cast is extraordinary. Suicide, Incorporated is a play that asks a lot of its actors, and these guys are fearless. I can’t wait to see what they do on stage.
After rehearsal, the Brewers win Game 1 of their series with the Diamondbacks. I’m feeling good.
Sunday, October 2nd
We have a strong run of the entire show and now I’m feeling great. I grab a kebab from the kart across the street and I’m feeling fantastic.
And then I remember the blog.
And now I’m anxious.
Oh hey, whaddya know the Brewers are on.
Monday, October 3rd
It’s a day off from rehearsals, which means two things: rewrites for Suicide, Incorporated and, yep, okay, it’s time to write the heck out of this blog.
Shannon sent me some samples, so I check out what other playwrights have written. Stephen Karam has photos from Lebanon on his blog, so I’m already a little intimidated. But not as intimidated as I am by David West Read, who did his own drawings. Seriously dude? It’s not bad enough I’ve got to follow your critically acclaimed production of The Dream of the Burning Boy; now I’ve got to one-up your cartoons?
What was the other thing on my to-do list today? Ah, yes, rewrites. I should really tend to those.
(In all seriousness, it’s such a privilege to get to return to this play and make some changes. We had a wonderful premiere production in Chicago, at the aptly-named Gift Theatre, but the play was far from finished. There were still a couple characters who weren’t fully fleshed, relationships that needed greater complication, and moments that could really resonate with a little bit of tweaking. Before we started rehearsals, Jill Rafson and Robyn Goodman gave me invaluable feedback and I have taken their notes to heart. In fact, I spend much of Monday night writing some new material to further complicate the relationship between company boss Scott [played by Toby Leonard Moore] and his loyal employee, Perry [Corey Hawkins]. I bring the new scenes into rehearsal on…)
Tuesday, October 4th
… and marvel at Corey and Toby, as they process the new material and seamless weave it into their characterizations. It’s always a joy to be in the rehearsal room, but particularly fun to watch facile actors (and we’ve got six of them) work with material that’s constantly in flux. Every day they teach me something about the play, and when all’s said and done, Suicide, Incorporated will be stronger because of them.
After rehearsal, I attend a preview of Stephen Karam’s Sons of the Prophet—a beautiful play (if you haven’t seen it yet, GO) and watch the Brewers lose to the Diamondbacks. I start to think again about the blog, and what it is I really want to write about.
I really want to tell everyone that I’m lucky. That I feel extremely fortunate to wake up each morning, brew a pot of coffee, and work on rewrites for a play that I care deeply about. And that I only feel luckier to then go into a rehearsal room with deeply committed actors (they run lines during their cigarette breaks), a passionate and visionary director, and a stage management team (led by the incredible Jenna Woods) who seems to know what everyone needs before they figure it out themselves.
I want to tell everyone that I’m lucky to have unqualified support from Jill, Robyn and Josh (Associate Producer, Roundabout Underground), and from everyone at the Roundabout. Their Underground program is an absolute gift, an extraordinary and extraordinarily rare opportunity to combine the intimacy of a 62-seat black box with the unending resources of a premiere institution.
Would that every writer got to have an opportunity like this.
Wednesday, October 5th
I run my “I’m lucky” idea past some of the folks in the rehearsal room, and told that it sounds like I’m writing either an acceptance speech or a self-help book..
Jonathan suggests that I write about the kebab cart.
After rehearsal, still searching for a blog topic, I turn on the Brewers game and watch as the Diamondbacks hit a grand slam in the very first inning. And suddenly I’m confronted with two absolute truths in life.
The Milwaukee Brewers will always break your heart, and the blank page never gets easier.
I better start writing.
Suicide, Incorporated begins previews in the Black Box Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for theatre on Friday, October 14. All tickets are $20. Call 212.719.1300 or visit roundaboutunderground.org to purchase your tickets.
Andrew Hinderaker's Blog, Roundabout Underground, Suicide, Incorporated