The process, Drawn Dead, and why I choose to work alone in development

I had two bits from my upcoming show Drawn Dead that I was putting together for the upcoming Minion Showcase, but with a packed show (that was cramped for time) and one of them producing more questions than answers right now I pulled one of them back.

This decision works out for me because I’ve been playing around a lot with that bit, Deuce is Coming, over the last couple weeks, changing the presentation of the scene: The scene plot and characters themselves are clearly defined to me, but I’ve toyed with having me narrate the scene and interject with character work (a storytelling piece), having it be a set of interchanging monologues, having it just be more of a scene between the characters with audience asides, how much of the poker in the scene to show (it does feature a poker hand played out, with chips and cards), etc.

There is also the challenge of the logistics of playing out a poker hand out between the characters, while making sure the audience (many of which don’t play poker) understands the context of what’s happening while not deflating the scene with exposition. I just recently got the chip set I’ll be using in the show, and the staged mechanics remain a work in progress before they become seamless.

Also, some of these scene options make the scene a bit long, and I wanted/needed to only do 3-5 minutes. All of those approaches present possibilities that I want explore more before refining the scene, so rather than present an incomplete scene just to do something I decided to shelve it for the Showcase and keep working on it. After all, with the actual Fringe show I can ultimately make the bit as long as I need to, or even disperse it throughout the show if that’s the best way to present it.

This is the sort of artistically laboratorial experimentation my process gives me the chance to do. Others and I have called into question whether or not I should work closely with a director in developing the piece. Having both worked in tandem with directors and by myself on solo pieces I have found that working with a director is great when you have a solid, defined piece of work done under a solid, defined process. Right now this work is still being defined, and a director would annihilate much of my needed flexibility at this time. Should the show solidify, a director may be helpful to smooth things out, but for now it’s important to keep my creative options open, develop this on my end and show parts periodically for feedback.

Also, this isn’t just a stage play or your typical solo show. The process let alone the material encompasses a lot of undiscovered territory for a typical theatre artist. In not understanding the process they may try to break it and hen it into what they think a process should be. That helps no one.

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