It Worked!: the Playwright’s Perspective

You know what’s nice? Getting a chance to try something new.  And learning that maybe that scene you thought was exactly what it needed
to be doesn’t necessarily function as such on stage. Why not dive into
that first scene and explore it for the first time, even if it hasn’t
changed in the year it took you to write the play?

Taking my play Expecting to a workshop was both exciting and
terrifying! Prior to setting foot in that room on that day, the only
readers I’d received feedback from had been similarly-situated men.
And this is a play about women. And fertility. What does a 27 year-old
man know about any of that? So when we gave the play its first read, I
was pleased to hear the jokes land. The cathartic moments resonate.
Men and women were laughing (sometimes at the same place!). I knew
then and there I was in a safe space, and this was the right group of
people with which to explore this brand-new play.

I could not have asked for a better team diving into this with me.
Turning my play over to three women whose opinions I admire and
respect in director Dawn M. Simmons, dramaturg Jessie Baxter and Fresh
Ink Artistic Director Louise Hamill was a no-brainer. After growing
this play inside me (is it too soon for pregnancy puns?) for over a
year, I was finally going to have insights from people who understand
the subject matter far better than I! We had another powerhouse trio
onboard as well. Leading ladies Nora Long, Melissa deJesus and Shelly
Long brought diverse (and in many cases, wonderfully parallel) life
experiences that really helped me understand what makes women in these
circumstances tick. The insightful and comic performances by Aaron
Parker Fouhey and Chuong Pham rounded out the cast in a perfectly
complementary way.

The whole team helped me see the play with a fresh set of eyes. The
play is meaty and deals with issues that people care about and want to
explore. Gathering these tremendous talents on a Friday evening
assured me of that.  So I’d done my job in that regard. I know some of
the critical moments in these characters’ stories that need to be
developed further and clarified for the audience.  I realized the
final decision our heroine makes comes out of left field and it needs
some nuance and a little more context. Most importantly? I realized
this is a story I should continue to develop, as it’s a story someone
other than me might actually be interested in. So it’s time for me to
dive back into this script and begin clarifying relationships and
strengthen the logic of certain choices.

This workshop was great shot in the arm to shake things up and help me
see my own play with new eyes. I can’t wait to see what’s next!