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  • cogswellmatt77

Letting Go

I've been awake since 3 a.m. I read for a while and when that did not put me to sleep, I opened my laptop to do some work. I'm not talking about the work that I get paid to do, although that will occur soon enough. I'm talking about the work that matters to me.

I was thinking about a play I wrote in 2020. It was essentially the story of my relationship with my mother tied up in a short 11-minute play. The wonderful Carol Raiche joined me for a recorded reading of the play in December of that year. A theater company butchered my play in an online festival. They cast a mother and daughter instead of a mother and son, without my permission or notification. The ages of the actresses were not at all appropriate for what I had written. Worse, they were played by actual mother and daughter but filmed in two different Zoom windows. It still bothers me. It still bothers me that I didn't pull my play the second I discovered, through my own research, that two women were cast. It is not a piece that works with that dynamic. I do have pieces that are gender-blind in casting, and I leave it to the theater companies to cast on appropriateness. But, this piece was too personal to me for that change to be acceptable. I have sent the script to a couple places, but it wasn't picked up, and I'm okay with that. I have my definitive version on my YouTube channel. I took it down from NPX, and I took the reference off my website. I did reshare it with two Facebook groups. It's in their hands if anyone wants to see it. But, I'm done 'pushing' that piece.

I saw a fellow playwright, the brilliant Steven G. Martin | New Play Exchange had posted a company's call for one-minute plays. Thanks to some playwrighting contests in 2020, I had a few pieces that I could submit. One already feels outdated and has for a while, but it's still interesting, I think. A version of it was produced by | classes and theatre-making by Leslie Pasternack. I submitted two other plays of similar length. I don't know if they will be picked up, but my submissions were another way to let go of some of those smaller works.

I had a play that has gone through the name changes of Popcorn from Trash Baskets and Exposed Skin. Its original title was Linguistotica. The most recent draft from sometime before sunrise was labeled "Short Scenes and Monologues Not For Me." They included some characters and monologues that were just not good, so I let some of them go by the stroke of a backspace button. One piece that was good lives on my channel, labeled as "Musical If." I'm quite happy with that performance as well. But, I cut it from that draft after saving it in another document, just in case...

Anyway, at the root of this evolving and diminishing play (in length!) are stories of failed connections. I had five stories of people meeting. Three of those stories are one-shot deals, and the other two have their storylines weaved in among the other stories. I had worked with two actresses on one of the storylines; I lost that recording. One quite short section premiered as part of the first event of The Forge Theater Lab - Home. They seem to complement one another. I posted the play on NPX as Emoticonnections. The scene that title comes from was the only work I've ever shared within a classroom. The two worlds are very distinct for me.

I hate that.

I've done enough promotion for today, I hope. It's time to do the other job.

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