On day two, we were up on our feet. Parts of this play are very physical -- there’s a shipwreck, torture, burnings at the stake, and books and paper everywhere, serving a dozen different purposes. We didn’t try to work through all of these elements in one night, but we did have big stacks of books and paper to play with and actors who were totally game to try anything. We had them rolling around the floor in clouds of paper. There were lots of laughs (which you might not expect from a play about the history of the English Bible) and a lot of positive energy and ideas filling the room.
Day three featured more time on our feet, and some rewrites I made that morning. We tackled parts of the script that still felt a bit rockier and a scene that I thought was pretty clear turned out to be a lot muddier than I expected. We tried improvising in another scene with the actor reading out passages from random scraps of highlighted psalms -- it was tricky work, but it pointed me in a good direction. Some days in workshop you get big “Ah ha” moments, but other times you come away mostly with a clearer understanding that this still needs work. Some of that work is going to get done by me between now and rehearsal, and some of it will have to be pounded out during the rehearsal process (I always find this is true for endings of plays). But it sure helps to know where those moments are going to be so we can be ready.
Patrick Gabridge, Playwright