Daily Dojo

Short Play PRETEND IT IS Opening Tonight!

My short play PRETEND IT IS runs the next few days at Manhattan Theatre Source as part of their ten year celebration of Spontaneous Combustion … they chose one favorite piece from each year, mine is from 2003 (egad, it’s been that long!). How it worked was, writers would draw a number of actors’ names out of a hat, be given a first sentence and a cultural reference on a Friday (something that had to be mentioned) stay up Friday night to write it, show up Saturday to read and rehearse it with the actors, they’d memorize it that night and it’d open on Sunday.

It was a trip, no doubt, and PRETEND IT IS was a fun one, I remember people in the audience gasping at the reveal.

Here’s the info if you’d like to attend, some great writers are involved.


The Tribe at the Source presents:

X-taneous Combustion
Dec 19th 20th & 21st at 7pm
Ten riotous years after it all began, Manhattan Theatre Source, celebrates its 48-hour play-writing frenzy with ten(ish) of the best. X-Taneous Combustion features a favorite choice from each of the last ten years.

Featuring the following tribal scribes:-
John Schoneboom, Philp Wilson, Alli Diaz, Larry Pontius, Doug Silver, Andrew Frank, Ed McNamee, Ed Malin, Joshua James, Justin Warner, Maggie Bell, Tina Polzin, Bridget Boucher, Bill Kozy
And the following tribal thesps:-
Helene Galek, Sasha Taublieb, James Edward Bection, Barbara Mundy, Jordon Auslander, Mike Motz, Adam Lowder, Tom Rowen, Jenny D Green, Michael Bordwell, Nina Stone, Tucker Stone, Greg McGoon, Kelsey Stokes, Ben Masur, Lucy Owen, Alaina Hammond, Alli Diaz, Ann Flanigan, Ridley Parsons, Stuart Green, Bill Kozy, Megan Cooper

I’m not going to be able to make the show, unfortunately, our baby is due any day and I don’t want to be too far away from the Samurai Lady … we’re nesting. If I could, I would see the show, it’s one of my favorite short pieces. We also put it up at No Shame as well.

Now for a bit of gossip … I liked the Spontaneous Combustions a lot, I believe I did four of them …

PRETEND IT IS was the last one I did, however … I remember that the Friday I did it was my birthday, I stayed up late, wrote the piece, took it Saturday and tried to rehearse and had so much trouble because one of the other writers (and Source regular) was raising hell and having a water fight or some shit like that in the theatre, just messing around, and made it impossible to hear my actors … when I asked him to hold it down a bit, he smirked and said, “Somebody give Josh a quarter so he can call someone who gives a shit” which is a profoundly rude thing to say to anyone, much less a dude (like me) who’s twice your size and had a life long interest in kickboxing … I didn’t pick him up and toss him through the window, to my credit, rather I shook my head, took my grievance to the guy running the whole thing … which basically resulted in my being UNINVITED to the very next Spontaneous Combustion. Because the snotty guy (who later that day, to his credit, did try to apologize, but interrupted our rehearsal yet again to do so, irritating us all) was better friends with them than I was.

They later invited me back for another one on a later date, but by then I figured, hey, if that’s how you roll, you guys don’t need me, right? I stayed up all night on my birthday - lol!

Of course, none of the folks running SC back then is in charge now (this current retrospective show was set up by the talented Ed Malin, a friend and colleague I respect a lot), so I feel free to share the story now (and the person in question who was rude has also moved on) and it all seems so silly in retrospect, seems silly because it is and was … just junior high politicking, basically, which I could care less about, and their loss because a good playwright willing to spend time busting his butt to put up good work for free is extremely valuable to a small theatre, but too often (and this is just my experience) at many places they act like they’re doing YOU a favor, not the other way around.

But in the end I learned something valuable … you can’t make people appreciate you or your work, they either do or they don’t, and it’s better to spend time with those that do than those that don’t … you’re going to run into the latter, it’s inevitable, and may even have to work with them … but bear in mind the above, you can’t make them appreciate you, so if you’re not getting paid or getting anything out of the work, why waste time with them?

Ultimately you have to find your tribe, find those you appreciate and who appreciate you, to run the long races with.

Hah, that’s a hell’ve a plug for a show, ain’t it?


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