Last week I had the opportunity to revisit a full-length play that is near and dear to me. "Handled" was workshopped here in Chicago in the summer of 2016 and, at the beginning of this year, I reached out to Creighton University, my alma mater, to ask if they'd be interested in hosting a workshop of the latest draft, one that contained several long sections I'd never heard out loud. I thought that the development of this particular play would be an interesting undertaking for a college program, as it features four females age 17-19. My long time friend and current CU Theatre professor, Dr. Amy Lane agreed.
I flew out Tuesday afternoon and, that evening, convened with the cast, and our director, Emma Rasmussen. I had been directed by Emma once before, when my short play "Blood Harmony," was a part of Creighton's 2015 Stage of the Art festival. I have great respect for her sensitivity and intelligence. We dove right in that night, and for me, it was a thrill to see a new group bring a high level of energy to this play. Over the course of our week together, the group showed me things about the script--both assets and deficiencies--and asked questions that forced me to go deep. (I had the luxury of staying in the house of my freshman and sophomore year neighbor, and was able to spend undistracted daytime hours adjusting, rewriting and petting dogs. Thanks, Jenny Sat.)
Our process culminated with a staged reading for an invited audience on Saturday morning. It is certainly a gift to be able to curate your feedback pool. The responses were lovely and thoughtful and again, pushed me deeper into the folds of the play than I had previously been able to imagine going. Heading straight from the reading to lunch with 7 women who are all Omaha theatre powerhouses capped off the experience. I came home inspired to tackle what feel like the last unresolved bits of "Handled." Crossing my fingers that it finds life beyond this!