When the story changes…

In real life we all change whether we want to or not. We try new foods, get involved in new jobs and relationships and basically do things that may seem different to our persona. Usually though, unless it’s to an extreme, we aren’t kicking and screaming.

But what happens when it’s one or more of our beloved characters that changes? I’m in the midst of experiencing this as I ‘adapt’ my novel Covering the Sun with My Hand to a play. I guess you can say that I’m in the acceptance phase now. Based on all the changes in the story, I’m now calling the project ‘inspired by’ rather than ‘adapted’ and have also thought about changing the title.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s still Julia and René Acevedo as our leads. Mami and Ana are major characters. Papi has unfortunately crossed over. There are characters at the forefront who weren’t mentioned in the novel but who are germane to the story.

It’s still going to be a while before they take their places on stage. I need time to get used to this changes. I’ll be writing more about these as I move forward in the play. The one thing that hasn’t changed in the writing of this version of the Acevedo family tale is that I love each character so much and I’m getting to know more about each as you will. Looking forward to sitting with you in the theatre.

Writing: From Prose to Play

PRTTAt my playwright unit at The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, one of my fellow members mentioned that I was already a writer when I started the school year. While that is true I was quick to interject that I'm brand new in terms of playwriting. Somehow or another my journey has taken me to this very new world and one that I am totally loving.

When I was still struggling with my first drafts of my novel, Covering the Sun with My Hand, a friend/producer saw the possibilities of the prose turning into play. I hadn't even finished the book and had quite a ways to go. What she did was to plant the seed for future growth. We chatted over it at dinner and stole some office time creating the vision. This was over five years ago and we both moved on but the seeds began to grow slowly.

The tender green shoots are starting to emerge from the fertile earth. While the novel was published in 2013 it's only since Autumn of 2014 that I've seriously sat to craft the play. The guidance of the directors, Mario Golden and Andreas Robertz, at the PRTT, along with my peers have helped immeasurably in the process. This is not one of those things one should do alone. Some of it, yes, all of it, impossible!

Playwrighting is not an alchemical process. I get to sit and develop dialogue without the pleasure of explaining ideas and concepts through my character's thoughts. It's all action! I critique the other student plays, listen to their opinions and possible solutions about each other's various scenes and monologues. I get to sit quietly and pay close attention to what they've suggested for my work and go home and work some more. Very unglamorously glamorous. I carry this process wherever I go, on the train, in the supermarket, and often jot down notes wherever I happen to be. Much of this is like my novel writing but also very different. 

If I'd been told I was going to be a novelist I wouldn't have believed it. Playwrighting is yet another thing that has taken me by surprise. Recently during one of my morning meditative runs I felt the presence of my mother who crossed over about fifteen years ago. Her loving energy along with her pride infused me. I know that my childhood filled with outings to Broadway plays and musicals is the compost that enriched the soil. The nutrient rich humus of my early life have made today possible. I've been preparing to be a playwright for a lifetime. My mom wanted me to know something different than the life we inhabited on the daily. Our lives were good but she wanted me to experience other things than what was on the street in the Park Slope of Old.

On May 20, 2015 I will be sitting in the audience of a beautiful theatre once again. The difference is that this time I will be listening to the words that I put down on paper, creating a story of a family that is troubled yet whose members are devoted to one another. I so look forward to also hearing the words of my fellow PRTT playwright unit members come to life on stage. 

This evening of reading is an open event and free to the public. Check out the details for this and other events at http:pregonesprtt.org

Hope to see you there.
-Let's do something new together.