Playwriting Research

During a self imposed break at work, I researched playwriting. The Los Angeles Times has had a series called Playwrights on Writing. I have often looked to this series for information, mentor-ship and insight from the well known playwrights that have contributed articles. Sadly the last one published in the times was on back in May, 2009. Contributors included Luis Alfaro, Lisa Loomer, Henry David Hwang, Charlayne Woodard and many others. I plan to print them all and collect them in a binder for future reference. I’ll file it next to The American Theatre Reader: Essays and Conversations from American Theatre Magazine. It’s inspiring to read all these works.

The last article I read in the American Theatre Reader was with Lorraine Hansberry regarding A Raisin In the Sun. I love the way she spoke. So sure of herself and her writing. She’s sure even in the changes…the way the play evolved. Did you know that there used to be a ballet in A Raisin In The Sun? Ms. Hansberry describes it here, “The motifs of the characters were to have been done in modern dance. It didn’t work! But I think that imagination has no bounds in realism – you can do anything which is permissible in terms of the truth of the characters. That’s all you have to care about.” This quote means a lot to me as I dive into the rewrites for Rosalila. I can do anything with these characters as long as what I write them doing what  is true to their nature. Would she stand this way, walk towards this character in this manner? How would he/she express the desires buried deep? Would they scream in anger or passively hide them? How would they react to pain? Or remembering it? And how do the rest of the characters involved react?

I hope to do as much diving in with Rosalila as possible. I have a huge responsibility to tell the truth in a much deeper way because the characters are based on my family. However, some of the information I’ve received has been half-truths, innuendo and outright lies. I’ve had to sift through what sounds incredulous and get to the real story. The one they are so screams to be told even as they continuously work to hide it.

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