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Topic: My Play!
Message: Posted by: michaelmystic2003 (Feb 11, 2011 11:25PM)
Sears Ontario Drama Festival is a huge deal where I'm from for theatre people in high school... We devote so much time and effort to prepare. My school is one of those super competitive, theatre-focused high schools, so each year's Sears Festival play is difficult to get into in the first place.

Well, with this year's school musical taking up so much time and effort, my drama teacher was not going to select and audition a play for Sears Festival this year. Around this time, I began workshopping a brand new script of mine. I hired a cast of 5 strong actors and they've dealt with me sinced October going through rehearsals, read-throughs, and re-writes, all with no clear path of where the play might take us.

As the playwright, I also acted as the director of the piece... it's called Shut Down, and it's an abstract piece about the dangers of the internet and how online anonymity really isn't as safe as people may think. Eventually, I started trying to get my drama teacher to consider the play for Sears. She has never chosen a student-written work for the festival, as quality is a priority, so this was a long shot but of course worth it in any case. I eventually convinced her to follow our rehearsals and sit in on a few to see how we progressed.

After a month of tweaking, my drama teacher still consistently remained indecisive about Sears Festival... quite frankly, the fact that after a rehearsal she even started to consider my play was a huge deal for me! There was still work to be done... and, long story short, after 5 months of hard work, dedication, and re-writes, we showed her the final product (roughly, of course) of my play in rehearsal. She sat there wide-eyed and agreed on the spot to submit my play to Sears Drama Festival.

This past week I've been completely ecstatic, and not a day goes by where I don't contemplate my current situation and smile. All of my hard work, and the hard work of my cast, has paid off and I couldn't be more thrilled. We compete in two weeks and there's lots of rehearsing, fine-tuning, and paperwork to do! But last year, Sears Festival (which I just acted in) was easily the highlight of my year, and I'm so excited to be able to live it again. It's also been great stretching my wings as a director, especially with my original work. I'm just honoured that my cast and my drama teacher thought enough of my script and my play to stick with it so long and eventually work it up to the way of my ultimate goal. I just wanted to share this with all of you as I'm still trying to process it all!

Here's a promo poster/programme image for the production. I can't wait to update you on how it goes!


Michael Kras
Message: Posted by: McAllisterMagic (Feb 11, 2011 11:57PM)
Do your characters have names, or are they just boy and girl??

Do you have a copy of the script, I've written a few screenplays myself and I always
like reading other screenwriters scripts.
Message: Posted by: michaelmystic2003 (Feb 12, 2011 12:20AM)
They are nameless in the play... this was a creative choice that was simply inspired by the fact that the characters are always hiding behind a facade, a false identity, so much so that it has gotten to the point that they practically ARE their false identities since it's all they have left of themselves.

Francis, if you want to check out the script, PM me your email and I'll set you up! I'll also post a video of one of our performances in the near future!
Message: Posted by: Tom Jorgenson (Feb 12, 2011 10:41AM)
Big congrats on your successes. Looks like you are flowing in the right directions. You are VERY lucky to have an invigorating High School, teachers and friends to match your creativity. Godspeed.
Message: Posted by: abc (Feb 12, 2011 11:05AM)
Good luck and congrats. I hope it goes very well. Keep us updated.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Feb 12, 2011 12:07PM)
Cool, Michael good luck.
Message: Posted by: KyleMacNeill (Feb 12, 2011 01:39PM)
Good luck!
Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Feb 12, 2011 01:48PM)
I hope you dedicate your play to all your helpful critics at the Café. Without them you would be...

Message: Posted by: michaelmystic2003 (Feb 12, 2011 11:14PM)
Thank you all for your support and well-wishes! We start tech rehearsals this week and I can't wait. It's a heck of a lot of work but I love it.
Message: Posted by: McAllisterMagic (Feb 13, 2011 11:52AM)
I'm currently reading your screenplay. Thus far I'm on page 9, the description of each character seems fine.. however
how will you show that to your audience..

You seem to have a major difference in description but the dialog doesn't really give much explanation. The audience wont understand
them as well as you, because the audience isn't reading your script. You need to also show more actions with your dialog,so they
can understand a person is depressed.

Maybe have the person sigh or rub his face to express his feelings. What I'm trying to say is you need better dialog to explain
the back story of the character. if not the audience wont have any connection to how the character is truly feeling, the audience will lack
interest in your play if you're not careful..

But hey maybe you will prove me wrong when I'm finished reading, like I said I'm only on page 9. I will give a better review of your script once I am done.
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Feb 13, 2011 12:01PM)
Possibly how they play it is left up to the actors.
Message: Posted by: McAllisterMagic (Feb 13, 2011 12:22PM)
Good point, like I said just a thought. Im sure I'll have a better opinion once I'm done.
Message: Posted by: McAllisterMagic (Feb 13, 2011 12:29PM)
Well Michael not bad, not bad at all. I have some pointers and advice with your script. If you PM me I will gladly help you.
Congrads on directing your first stage play. You don't have to make some changes I suggest , but maybe consider some ideas.

Is their a chance this play will be video taped, I would like to see it in action.
Message: Posted by: michaelmystic2003 (Feb 13, 2011 12:50PM)
We are definitely going to video tape it!

Plus, Mr. Cutts is right... how the characters are portrayed is very clear on stage. The staging hasn't been outlined in the script but, trust me, it's there :) Thank you for your thoughts and your interest!

I'll PM you, I'm interested in what you have to say!
Message: Posted by: michaelmystic2003 (Feb 20, 2011 10:05PM)
Just an update... rehearsals are going very well and we did a fully staged run with all lighting and costume in place for a few people and it got a great response! My excitement just keeps growing!

This friday, we'll be filming a live performance and it'll be on YouTube shortly after!
Message: Posted by: michaelmystic2003 (Mar 6, 2011 12:26AM)
Well, we performed this last wednesday, but I figured I'd wait it out until the Awards Ceremony tonight to update you all.

The show made a HUGE impact on the audience! My cast gave a brilliant performance, the best they'd ever done, and all of the comedy and drama hit has hard as I had written it and as I could have ever wanted it. We got more laughs than the festival's funniest comedy during our comedic scenes, and by the tragic end people were in tears. I was beside myself and so proud of everyone. It was a hit with the audience and by the end of the week, there were four clear obvious choices for festival winners (including our show)... but unfortunately only three winners could be chosen.

No, we didn't win, but we know we made a huge impact on the audience. The feedback we got was amazing and I'm so grateful that my first ever written and directed show affected so many people. Hearing the audience react so strongly during the show to the comedy and tragedy was so otherworldly for me and it was an incredible experience.

In short, we didn't go without notice... I'm thrilled to say I was awarded with an Award of Excellence for my Writing and Direction of Shut Down. When they announced my name I literally blacked out. People pushed me up to the stage to accept my award, otherwise I probably would have just sat there dazed. Unfortunately, I'm left with a bittersweet feeling, as my cast wasn't recognized for their incredible ensemble performance. They brought the work to life beautifully and really moved the crowd. The winners for their performances in another play totally didn't deserve it, and that's by anyone's standards but really a whole other story.

My cast is a little disappointed but we take great comfort and pride in knowing what we've done together. I'm so happy right now.
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Mar 6, 2011 12:29AM)
Congrats, took you twenty something years but you now are a success at highschool plays.
Message: Posted by: stoneunhinged (Mar 6, 2011 05:34AM)
Michael, you've peaked at 18 (or 19, or whatever)!

Where will you go from here?
Message: Posted by: abc (Mar 6, 2011 09:50AM)
COngrats mate. Hopefully you can move forward and onward from here. Best of luck.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Mar 6, 2011 12:15PM)
Congratulations. Are you going to be keeping up with the magic? I think you have some real potential there.
Message: Posted by: michaelmystic2003 (Mar 6, 2011 12:36PM)
Thank you all! And of course the magic is staying! I love it as much as I love theatre.
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Mar 6, 2011 02:29PM)
Please reconsider, magic is just messing you up and keeping you from your true great play....Tucked. You should step away from magic, magic books, magic forums, all of it.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 6, 2011 09:02PM)
On 2011-03-06 06:34, stoneunhinged wrote:
Michael, you've peaked at 18 (or 19, or whatever)!

Where will you go from here?

Well once things hit their peak, they begin to decline.