Saturday, May 4, 2024

A weekend in Bend

Last week I drove to Bend, OR to see my newest short play in a festival.  A friend surprised me by offering to join me.  It's about a 6+ hour drive, so it was lovely to have the company, as well as someone to share driving and meals.  Also, she had lived in Bend for a few months years ago, so she was able to show me around the town.

The first night there we went to the theater where the festival was playing.  This is the second time a play of mine has been accepted by this theater, but my first time to see the performances for myself.  Well...

The acting in the plays I saw was community theater level at its worst.  Both the acting and direction were awkward and amateur.  And the actors in my play dropped literally half the text, so a 12 minute play was 5 minutes long and didn't make sense.  I did not stay to see the second half of the festival.

I learned later that the director of my play had had to step into that role at the very last minute, so she was not solid with the lines.  She sent me a video of the second night's performance, in which all the lines were spoken, but the acting was still pretty bad.

It was also weird that there were no printed program for the show.  All in all, this was a pretty poor evening of theater.  And what makes me really angry is that this theater asks that only unproduced plays be submitted.  This is becoming a common practice among theaters, and one I fight back against with letters and emails when I come across it.  These theaters don't seem to recognize that a play can only be unproduced once, and after that become ineligible for any other theater which accepts only unproduced plays.  So the first-production rights are incredibly precious to a playwright.

Too often, absolutely nothing is offered in return for those rights: no honorarium, no reviews, not much audience, no development opportunity, nothing.  The theater in Bend didn't even mention in its press materials that the plays were world premieres, so why the heck do they have the gall to ask for only world premieres?  Grrrrrrrrr.

Still, I'm really glad I went.  I got some nice time with a friend, which took our friendship to a deeper level, got to explore a darling town, and have several really terrific meals.  I did come down with either an annoying sinus infection or a bad allergy attack, because my nose ran the whole time I was in Bend.  (3  COVID tests reassured me that at least I didn't have the dreaded C.)  That bothered me almost more than the awful performance of my play, which I had been so eager to see fully performed for the first time.  But one of my latest mottos is "What doesn't kill you makes for a good story afterward."  So there you have it, the story of my adventures in Bend, OR.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry about the disappointing production of your play. And, I didn't realize the "unproduced productions" issue and the restriction that places on the playwright who is unable to see her work performed elsewhere. I hope to spend some time in Bend this summer. I have a dear friend who lives there and another long-time friend who will be visiting at the end of July. Hope you're feeling well by now. xoA <3