A room with a round table and 4 chairs.
Producer: Okay listen up everyone! She should be here any minute now. Let’s try and make her feel comfortable yeah! We don’t want to scare her off like the last one.
Actress: You know she’s just a Writer right? Just another Script writer.
Producer: Exactly. She might not be used to theatre people. You know how WE theatre people are like.
Actress: I’m not going to bite her head off you know, if that’s what you’re worried about.
Producer: We just want to keep her here as long as possible. We need a writer! Don’t forget that. None of us can actually write. Nor do we want to. Okay now do we all have a copy of the script??
(Knock on the door. Writer walks onto stage.)
Producer: That should be her. Hi hi hi! Welcome! Come in! Good to see you! Come, sit down!
(Writer takes a seat.)
Producer: Now as you already know, I’ll be producing the show.
Director: And I’ll be directing it. I’m the director. Glad to meet you!
Producer: And this, this of course is our leading lady! The award winning star of the stage. The actress whom needs no introduction.
Actress: Lovely to meet you my dear.
Writer: Oh wow…
Producer: Thanks for joining us at this small get-together. It means so much to us. You have your script with you yes?
Writer: Oh yes, of course.
Producer: That’s great! Okay first, I want to be totally honest with you….right from the beginning itself.
Director: Indeed, totally honest.
Producer: We entirely loved the script. It is so brilliant.
Director: Loved it.
Actress: Loved it so much.
Producer: And I can assure you we have read hundreds…
Director: Thousands of scripts.
Actress: Once, there was this script about 5 people going in search of some treasure. Some adventure thing. My god.
Producer: That’s like every 90s adventure story!
Director: Ohoh remember the one with the sci-fi one? I mean…what in the world.
Actress: We don’t really see many original stories anymore.
Producer: Okay people focus. So…basically none of these scripts were…really…appealing…. Or interesting.
Director: Until that is…
Producer: Until that is your script caught our attention.
Actress: It was so different from the rest of them.
Writer: Thank you so much. I’m so glad you all liked it. It’s my first.
Producer: I mean, how many scripts these days truly address these bold issues?
Writer: Not that many.
Director: Hardly any actually.
Actress: Your lead….She’s a daring woman. I actually liked the script very much. I immediately identified with her.
Producer: Women who are daring yet brainy and feminine. How often do you come across that in theatre today? Hmm?
Writer: Not very often…
Director: That’s what we loved about your script. We felt that it was something worth working on…something worth exploring!
(Producer flips through the script.)
Producer: There’s definitely material in this script. So much potential. Just brilliant.
Director: A director’s dream I’d say. An abundance of material to work with.
Actress: Sometimes I do envy you writers. So much talent…so much potential. I rarely come across a script with this much material.
Writer: Thank you all so much.
Producer: Hmm but…perhaps maybe too much material.
Director: It’ll probably need to be cut down a little.
Producer: Some parts need to be reworked.
Writer: Oh, you want me to do some changes?
Director: Omg no no.
Producer: Definitely not! Please don’t.
Actress: Don’t change a thing darling, not even a fullstop.
Director: We’re just exploring the artistic prospects in the script.
Producer: You know…the raw and rough edges that need to be smoothened out.
Director: Yepp yepp it’s all a part of the theatre process. Don’t worry.
Actress: We call it….’The development of the script.”
Producing: The nurturing process.
Director: When we look at the script, we have to pull out all the unnecessary portions.
Producer: Once all that is removed….We have to see what remains…What is left here?
Director: Is it still a play? Does it still hold something?
Actress: If it isn’t a play anymore….we’re back where we started. Back to square one. Plays don’t just come about darling. They have to emerge from the ashes. Like a phoenix.
Director: That’s right! Plays move through various stages. They are born in the fire of hard work and team effort. From page to stage….it’s a challenging process you know.
Writer: Ermmm. Okay…..
Producer: So….i’m thinking..
Director: I’m thinking maybe one or two scenes.
Producer: I think I know where you’re going with this.
Director: That one or two scenes might be abit too….
Writer: Controversial?….political??….Is censorship the issue??
Director: Ermmm no no. It’s just abit too long.
Actress: Yes yes….just abit tooo long darling. Too many words.
Writer: Hmmm too long??
Producer: You know…we have to consider our audience. We can’t have a 4 hour play with 8 song and dance sequences with 87 characters….can we?? How will the poor audience sit through all this??
Director: Audience these days tend to have a very short attention span. They can’t focus on something for more than 10 to 15 minutes.
Actress: I blame television for that.
Writer: But this script wasn’t written for television. It’s for theatre.
Actress: It is only in theatre where we can properly address such BIG issues. We want to make our voices heard!
Director: Television these days is too superficial. What do TV people know about theatrical directing. If they were to come across this script, they probably won’t be able to cope with it. They wouldn’t even understand this.
Producer: They’ll want to change it straight away. They’ll want more drama….sex…drugs!
Director: But this script…..this script is different. It hits you in the face and tells you…this is what a play script should be like!
Producer: Except for the one or two…
Director: Yeah..one or two scenes….abit too long. That’s all.
Actress: For our present day audience that is.
Director: I have to say though, one of the things that really distinguishes your script is the strong central character.
Producer: A very central role…I must say.
Actress: Agreed! I’ve read it so carefully and I see that role as very very central. If I wasn’t already playing it, I would kill to play it.
Director: But there’s a slight problem though….
Producer: We were thinking if the central character is abit too old.
Director: I was thinking maybe that character would be…..less old.
Actress: You mean…younger.
Director: Yes yes…younger.
Writer: But she has 3 daughters. All between the ages of 20–25.
Producer: Oh yes the daughters! We were thinking if the daughters would be distracting. Moving the focus away from the central character.
Writer: But isn’t that key to the whole play? The relationship between the mother and 3 daughters is what makes the play so impactful.
Actress: Get rid of the daughters.
Producer: You might want to think about it.
Director: Ahhh and then it seems that after a certain point in the play….the central character stops appearing…why??
Writer: Ermm…she dies.
Director: Exactly! She dies.
Actress: That’s kinda sad don’t you think. I mean she is like the central character and all.
Producer: You see, we have this crucial central character who we truly identify with and then she goes…and…you know…
Writer: But it’s the impact of the death on the 3 daughters that drives the play…
Director: Just put some thought into it. Think about it.
Actress: By the way, darling….does the central character have to be a Social Worker?? Can’t she be like a supermodel or something? You know….more like me! It would be easier to get into character you know.
Director: Not too model-like. But abit more fashionable maybe?
Producer: These are just ideas of course.
Director: And the opening scene. I think it lacks a punch. Something missing there…
Writer: (sarcastically) A fashion show perhaps? With the central character coming down a runway?
Actress: OMG. That’s nice. Very nice.
Director: No no no! We can’t have that here.
Producer: You see it’s not so much about the writing but more on the structure.
Director: How we present it to the audience. Setting the scene. Very important you know.
Writer: I’ll try to see what I can do.
Producer: Working on a script like this is always so stimulating.
Director: Kicking it around. Molding it into shape.
Actress: This is so exciting yeah! It’s like all of us setting off on a theatrical adventure.
Writer: Oh yes. Sure it is.
Director: That’s the value of these meeting.
Producer: Getting those creative juices flowing. Developing a working relationship with the writer.
Director: So, I think we’ve covered most of the points we wanted to discuss. How about you? You haven’t really said much.
Writer: Who me?
Producer: Of course! The writer always has to have the last word. We must respect the writer.
Actress: Did I tell you I envy writers a lot. Like a lot darling.
Director: So is there anything you want to add before we arrange for our next meeting?
Writer: Nope, I think I’ve got everything. You understand this is all very new to me and somewhat overwhelming at times but from what I’ve been able to gather, you’re telling me that if we all work very hard, arrange future meetings, not let the script get in the way, set the whole play at a fashion show, kill off the central character’s daughters and make it a monologue….then what we are doing is essentially turning a crappy script into an award-winning artistically mind-blowing script.
Producer: Spot on.
Actress: Exactly Darling.
Writer: Is it too late to go with that 4 hour play with 8 songs and 87 characters?