I have been memorizing lines for 2 weeks with limited success and yesterday I got on my feet and put down the script. With Denise prompting me, within 2 hours I had managed to get to page 18. That’s close to 2/3rds. Note to all sketch writers and playwrights especially:
Do yourself a favor before you die by memorizing the entirety of something you have written so you can immediately discover IT’S TOO DAMN LONG.
Not only is every one of my monologues too long but they’re convoluted. too. I seem to write things upside down and with lots of additional gee-gaws hanging off of it. My writing is saying something I want to say but my feelings about what I’m saying gob thing up with guk. It’s so annoying! Fortunately I can edit the play because I wrote it.
But I think a lot of sketch writers watch their scenes and think: Damn that actor! Why can’t they just pick up the pace? This scene is dragging and they just need to say the lines faster! Wrong and wrong. Andy Miara, one of my colleagues at Second City says dialogue should take up about 1/3 of the theatrical space. The other THIRD is for the gestures and exits and other blocking. The final third is for the audience to react–hopefully from time to time with laughter.
When I direct student shows, first-time writers lean in to me during the performance and whisper,
*Why aren’t they laughing?*
I always end up saying, *Because they’re too busy listening.*
LET'S TRY NOT TO HOG ALL THE THEATRICAL SPACE WITH WORDS FOLKS. I'm trying, I'm really trying. So putting up *Writing With Nancy* has already been an invaluable experience and we’re two weeks away from opening!
BTW: Opening night is already half sold so please buy tickets soon BY CLICKING THE BANNER ABOVE. I appreciate your support.