Erin Mallon here.
I’m not sure I can adequately express how happy I am to be one of Farm Theater’s playwrights for their College Collaboration Project this year and to be working with the students of Arkansas State University and Pellissippi State Community College. I am a writer though, so I suppose that’s the definition of my job, right? To adequately express things in words? Well, how’s this: I’m psyched. PSYCHED.
But, like, in a gentle way.
Which is new for me.
See, I’m accustomed to writing first drafts in less-than-30-days through a project I co-produce called The Brooklyn Generator. This approach is awesome because I don’t have time to second-guess myself. This approach is often horrifying though because I don’t have time for… well, much of anything!
So to have several months to let this new play percolate and grow feels like a real luxury. This is a slow burn of sorts when I’m used to theatrical grease fires. Each day I walk around pondering what the play may want to become and new images pop into my head. New characters visit me and delight me. Notebooks fill with potential scenes. Dialogue pops in my brain and plops itself into a file on my desktop labeled “College Collab Play.”
But before that all started happening, we kicked off the process with juicy discussions with each of our schools via videoconference.
Here are some of the topics we tackled:
- Does the mind create the body?
- What does the voice in your head say most often?
- How might a silent character express themselves onstage?
- What do you rarely if ever see in the theater?
- What is your relationship to exercise?
- What musical instruments do you play?
- Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese”
- Louise Hay’s Mirror Exercise and seminal book “You Can Heal Your Life”
I’m so grateful to these thoughtful, openhearted students for sharing their stories with me. Because of them, I now sit here with approximately thirty pages of raw, seemingly unconnected writing that I have faith will expand and find its way into play form before July 1st , when my first draft is due.
Until then, I’m going to make the most of these next 2.5 months by soaking up more opportunities to learn from these wonderful students , trusting the process and enjoying the slow burn.
Keep you posted!