This article says that the Avalon Foundation is casting roles for its Christmas production. A new original play written by Laura Ambler and Mala Burt. Yikes! That’s US! There in black and white for everyone to see. Yes, I know Mala’s been posting about our Santa Diaries meetings with the Avalon, even documenting them with photos, but that doubting, insecure, neurotic writer part of me was absolutely certain that the Avalon folks just didn’t want to hurt our feelings. That they were being gracious and humoring us, but would eventually say, “We’re sorry, but it’s not for us.” The delicate way of saying it stinks.
But seeing the notice in Friday’s Star Democrat’s weekend section that auditions for The Santa Diaries are starting THIS MONDAY – September 24th – from 5:30 to 8:30 at the Avalon, was truly a Sally Field Oscar moment. And no, not that they loved us, but that we’d created something that they believed would showcase local talent and resonate with the community. We will SO be there! What writer could resist seeing something they wrote actually being performed!
Writing is such a solitary pursuit. When you write fiction you never get to sit next to the reader and see how they react to what you wrote – unless you’re REALLY obnoxious – and yes, I admit, I’ve forced people to read something I wrote while I watched them – namely my husband – and pounced on their (his) every physiological reaction – “You sighed! Were you moved???!” The usual reaction… “No, I was just breathing.” Sad. Me. Not them (him).
Even writing movie screenplays, in which I’ve optioned and sold a few and even had one produced is similar. The studio or production company tells you what you wrote was FABULOUS! Then when you see the actual film or rewrite find they’ve added unicorns or ogres and flaming fireballs to your heartfelt family film. Or changed it from a man against nature drama to a murder car chase flick. Seriously.
Writing with Mala is such a joy. We’ve worked on novels and screenplays and teleplays. We’ve made each other laugh to the point of tears. And tortured her poor husband, Roger – our resident expert on everything from political to psychological – with innumerable questions – and yes – he always has the answer, not to mention the raised eyebrow at our sanity. But this is the first time our writing will be a supreme collaborative venture. A romantic comedy Christmas musical.
The Avalon folks, Tim Weigand, Jessica Bellis Rogers, Cece Davis and Liza Ledford not only READ our play. They liked it! Along the way they have had fabulous ideas about how to make it better! We loved the feedback.
To actually seeing them acting out some of the parts was like (I imagine) heroin! Or fudge. Or cheese! Pick your poison. I want more!
And based on seeing this notice in the Star Democrat, I am salivating. I will get my cheese on Monday. There will be actors and dancers and musicians wanting to bring The Santa Diaries to life. Adding their own vision, passion, and experiences. Amazing. It’s really happening.