Phew, we are back to posting Sunday like civilized bloggers. I can’t tell you what a burden it was to post Saturday, Friday or whenever day that happened to be convenient. I just hope you appreciate the effort it takes to provide you with your weekly fix. And now that I have successfully reminded you of your mother, we can move on.
Hopefully, Scott in Houston, has his winner’s copy of “Son of Ravage” and already deep inside the tale. Can’t wait to hear what he thinks. Speaking of reviews, please remember to post your own reviews on Amazon, Good Reads and wherever book reviews are accepted. Reviews are never expected but always appreciated. So keep spreading the good word about our fanciful little tale!
Found some old writer blog posts from almost a decade ago. I thought this particular post was worth revisiting. I liked it because it was almost 100 percent wrong. The entry is from, Thursday, March 11th2010, and concerns the first table read of the musical comedy “Wild Space A Go Go.”
I must say that I went in to this first rehearsal with a bit of anxiety. Not so much for the cast - as they are all fantastic! I knew going in that they would be both professional, prepared and up to the task. The anxiety was all mine. I mean, why not? I was the one who wrote the libretto for Christ’s sake. I am not sure if I am the typical insecure writer or not, but I really went in expecting hundreds of winces as actors got to particular jokes/lines or maybe, even worse, a throw-down of their scripts in total disgust and a collective walkout.
Luckily that was not the case! If there were winces, they were well masked by their professional faces. What’s more, their timing was impeccable, and the reading astounded, not only me, but the director and composer as well. Here were actors who instinctively got all character beats in the script and got my timing for the way a broad comedy script like this has to go. I believe that each writer delivers a script but a timing of how that script will play. It’s all part of that inner voice that manifests itself when we are writing. It is just a matter of trusting that voice and believing that it will carry over.
I mentioned in an earlier blog that I was forced to trim in order to meet time restraints of the venue but also jokes that somehow repeated too many times. What ended up happening, in one case, was putting a joke back in – just based on how the actor delivered the line. With his unique reading, it was not overkill at all but a wonderful set-up for the next gag. Bravo, actor. Well done!
Insecurity comes with the creative territory. But all of the pundits agree in terms of comedy. If it makes you laugh, it will cross over from the page to the performance. I guess the real test comes with the actor that breathes life into the lines and their experience. If they have the chops, the laugh will come.
We are blessed with an immensely talented cast. Whatever happens, I will be grateful to work with all of them. In all future projects, I hope that I work with actors of this caliber.
So optimistic, right? Well, on the third day of rehearsals, the actors turned on each other and cannibalism ensued. Just kidding. They never went fully Whaling Ship Essex on me. Maybe they should have. You see, we rushed to production and there were some, eh…problems. The show needed more work. We needed (drum roll please) more table reads, preferably some in front of a live audience.
A year before, we workshopped the project, other actors reading the libretto and performing the songs before an invited crowd. No laughter. Zip. Zero. For a tragedy, this might be okay. For a musical comedy, this is a ground zero disaster. I was talked into believing that we only needed one workshop. That these events were always this quiet and the book, music and lyrics only needed a new opening.
This, my friends, was not my first trip to the table read rodeo. Tom McComb (Doc to you Son of Ravage fans) and I had a sitcom pilot that was cowritten and starred the legendary Jerry Lambert and featured the awesome Debra Jo Rupp from “That 70’s Show.” This reading was far more successful as the material had been properly tested.
You know when you are ready and so does your audience. Cast reads are only part of the equation. Workshop as often as you can before a live audience. Never blame them for not laughing. Look at the material first.
There was a horror script at Paramount and the first read was a disaster, Everyone, including the actors, knew it. I was hired and did a complete overhaul. I met the actors for the 2nd reading and taped the performance. Much better, but not quite there. After repeated listening, it was decided that more tweaking was needed and there was a third reading. This time, we hit it out of the park. Keep writing. Despite what you think, or what people tell you, you’re work can always be better.
In 1981, J.P. Linde co-wrote and appeared in a one-man comedy show titled “Casually Insane.” Shortly after, he joined the ranks of stand-up comedy and performed in clubs and colleges throughout the United States and Canada. In 1989, he made his national television debut on “Showtime’s Comedy Club Network.” He wrote the libretto for the musical comedy “Wild Space A Go Go” and co-wrote and co-produced the feature motion picture, “Axe to Grind.” “Son of Ravage” is his second novel.