Maybe this is the first play you’ve written, maybe it’s your twentieth, but at some point, it’s going to get produced, and that’s when you’re going to have to let go of your baby and place it in the hands of someone else. Theatre is a collaborative art form and my goal is to embrace my collaborators. If you can’t embrace the process, why collaborate?
Here are my guidelines for creating a great piece of collaborative art:
1. Be open and truly listen.
2. Ask for clarification when you don’t understand something.
3. Pick your battles and try not to battle often.
4. Respect yourself and your work.
5. Take your time when making a decision about your work. Do not make abrupt decisions to please others that you might regret later.
6. Be accommodating but firm.
7. Leave some space in your work for your collaborators’ vision.
8. Be willing to accept that you are wrong sometimes.
9. Don’t let resentment build. If something’s bothering you, confront this as soon as possible (and refer to No. 3 often and really think this through and make sure your claim is just.)
10. Embrace your collaborator’s vision. You might not agree with it, but at least give it some consideration. If you can’t, why are you collaborating?
No. 10 is very important. It’s amazing how a question from an actor or a designer can help clarify something in your work, or inspire you to look at it in a way you had not thought of previously.
I used to think that all I had to do was write the play. That’s only the first step. I’ve had to take a hard look at why I am doing this and what success really means to me. Lara, the lead character in Chemistry of Love, deals with similar issues, while also dealing with the reactions of the people whom she is closest to about her impending success. It’s amazing how a little recognition changes everyone’s attitude towards an artist. Lara’s mentor, ex-boyfriend and best friend all seem to want a piece of the success she’s worked for — but do they deserve it?
That said, there’s a hell of a lot of humor in this play.
Chemistry of Love opens at La MaMa on May 2. There is a $10 ticket discount offered for NYWIFT members on opening night. You can buy tickets here. (Use code NYWIFT for $10 tickets for the May 2 show.) From May 2-5, two tickets for $25 or $15 tickets are available with code 2FOR25 or 15FIRST and at the box office until tickets are sold-out. — JILL CAMPBELL