April 17, 2013

  • AlterLab Retreat Recap

    So much to process…

    In a good way.

    I spent the majority of my Saturday and Sunday up in San Rafael at the home of Ann Brebner. Ann is one of the AlterLab playwrights who, like me, participated in the residency last year. Ann’s play The Dead Girl, which she wrote during last year’s residency, is currently in rehearsals and will open later this month at AlterTheater.

    Ann lives in this lovely home with a fire she can turn on by remote control and a wonderful backyard garden filled with all sorts of flora.


    My local coffee house.

    Saturday began with me heading to The Blue Danube to pick up tea bags (for tea I made once I got to Ann’s house) and coffee. The coffee was for Denmo, one of the other playwrights in the AlterLab residency who was kind enough to pick me up both days and drive me to San Rafael.

    When Denmo and I arrived at Ann’s house we found it filled with people, including the final AlterLab playwright Larissa Fasthorse. The other people were actors that AlterTheater had brought in to read my current draft of Wolf at the Door and two local dramaturgs.

    After the read through I took copious notes during a feedback session that I led. I have lots of ideas that I’m excited to incorporate and explore for the next draft–success!

    My copious notes.

    After the actors departed it was just the AlterLab playwrights and Jeanette who runs AlterLab, though Jeanette would say that we are in charge. ;)

    The afternoon was filled with a writing exercise and discussion about the projects we’re currently working on.

    Sunday began with a bit of a late start. Not the retreat, but me and my ride. We did arrive in time to catch the very end of the few pages Larissa had brought in. We quickly caught up (read through the pages) and joined the conversation that the pages had inspired.

    I then had the group read my prologue for Alcira so I could get some early feedback as I get ready to start and finish my first draft of the play.

    During lunch Larissa and I found a patch of sunshine in the outside garden patio and talked about allergies and napping, among other things. And the weather was perfect over the weekend, blue sky without a hint of cloud.

    The afternoon became more targeted as we did a series of writing exercises to help one another explore our respective projects. I asked for my fellow playwrights to contribute four questions for an interview I plan to do with my character Rocio (character interviews as one of my go-to writing exercises).

    We finished the day by stating our goals. That is, the goals we’d like to complete before our next retreat in July. For our next retreat I have to bring in a new draft of Wolf at the Door and a no-matter-how-rough draft of Alcira.

    I left with some my thoughts churning. I had all sorts of great notes, feedback and ideas for my next round of rewrites. And I had all sorts of confidence issues that suddenly came swimming to surface which I plan to unpack in another blog post.

    More soon,

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