|An ambience conducive to creativity|
Grant Knutson of Minion Productions offered me a great cabin. Tucked a bit off an access road in dense woods, it was a perfect place to focus. Just me, alone, with the work that needed to be done. I went up specifically to finish a full-length play. The play in question is a reboot of the first play I ever wrote, Arsenic & Roses.
I wrote the one-act Arsenic & Roses in 1996 while I was in college studying acting. It had its first production at the College of Santa Fe in the tiny Weckesser Studio black box. I directed it myself. Over the years the play has been presented a number of times. With every production I tweaked it and tried to make it better.
As the 20 year mark approached (geez, I've been writing plays now for 20 years!), I wanted to stop fiddling with Arsenic and Roses. But I was not happy with it. Like most early works, it falls so far short of the current work I do. So, I figured I'd just rewrite the thing. From scratch.
Sitting down in the tiny A-frame cabin the first full day I was there was so difficult. After staring at the void for nearly forty minutes, I gradually began to put words to page, then to keyboard and screen. I wrote the first few pages and then let the piece take me forward. Everyday, I would tally the page count. Some days I only created 7 pages. On one particulalrly prolific day during the week, I completed 15 pages.
I would alternate two roughly two or three hour work sessions each day with walks outdoors, or the occassional cigar on the deck out front. It was really kinda nice once I settled into a routine.
This was the first arts residency/retreat I have been a part of. It was hugely beneficial. Much gratitude to Grant at Minion. I will be taking a second pass at the first draft I completed at the cabin later in the month and then begin the arduous task of play development readings and workshops, submissions and then eventual productions. I will rename this new version of the play (I just don't know what yet).