For those of you that don’t know, I have dabbled in playwrighting. I have submitted to a few publishers, festivals, and competitions and had varied results. I’ve had staged readings, a few performances, and even one play adapted for film. The reason I wrote the plays was to continue working while I wasn’t working as an actor. And because of a class I took. But still! Working!
A few weeks ago I received an email asking me about royalties and rights to one of my 10-minute plays, Father’s Day. This has never happened. Not sure if it is because my plays are listed online for free or if there hasn’t ever been a demand. Either way, I was very surprised to hear that my play was going to be performed at the Short and Sweet Theatre festival.
In Bengaluru, India!
India? How did that happen? Google. That’s how. Here is some of our email correspondence of how it all happened. From Sonam Powar:
Initially I was suppose to perform “The Audition” from Neil Simon’s “The Good Doctor” but I did not get the Royalty/Permission in due time ,that is when I started searching for new scripts. I just gave a random search on Google for 10 min plays and I was choosing scripts from prominent playwrights (By that I mean playwrights whose plays have been done & re-done in many SHORT N SWEET Festivals all over the world and won many prizes) like Alex Broun and Pete Malicki, etc. Also, for the purpose of reading, I tried to get my hands on something different that had not been performed in Short n Sweet before, that is when I came across your play’s from your website: http://easiersaid.net/?page_id=502.
I don’t mind being the back up for Neil Simon! She then goes on to talk about how the play was chosen and her preparation for the role:
What really caught my attention was your ending, it was quite touching. So I shortlisted 3 to 4 scripts and sent it to my director (Rishikesh N.) and asked him to choose one based on my potential and the time (5 days) @ hand. After he read your script, he was extremely excited and hopeful and asked me to get the Royalties/permissions from you. I was a little hesitant as I had to portray a 12 year boy ,whereas I’m a 24 year old woman,but my director said to me “This is THE ROLE” and I just decided to go with his gut feeling.
To get the feel of the character, I cut my hair short (Kind of a big deal in India!), watched “The Departed” (over & over), to study Leonardo Dicaprio body language, mannerisms, accent etc. You see Indian men are very different that American /European and American Movies are the only way for us to study and sort of understand American Culture. I was shit scared because I had never played a boy before and that too American. I had to portray all the emotions Anger – Sadness – Excitement – Innocence – Yearning for love and keeping in mind that I’m a Guy (Trust me ,its difficult to think like a 12 year old guy)I’m still not sure if I portrayed it right 😉
She performed the script for 2 nights in the 200-seat Jagriti Theatre before it was chosen to perform a third night as a contest finalist. Did I mention this was a competition? It was. Here were the results:
- Best Overall Production – No mans Land – Kamal Pruthi
- Best Play Audience Choice – Father’s Day by Will Hightower – Sonam Powar
- Best Script – Disgusted by Pete Malicki – Performed by Mohan Ram
- Best Director – N. Rishi for Father’s Day – Performed by Sonam Powar
- Best Actress – Big Banyan Wine Award – Sonam Powar
- Best Actor – Aramusk Award – Kamal Pruthi Arora
- Best Ensemble – Wipro for “Playback”
- Best Poster – Radio One – ‘Shadows Within’
Looks like the feelings they had about the play were correct! Note that “Best Script” went to the aforementioned “prominent playwright” Pete Malicki.
I don’t share this to brag, even those it is my only real prize. The reason why I tell this story at all is because it shows the importance of making your work available. I wrote “Father’s Day” one afternoon sitting in a book store because I thought it would be funny. Yes, I thought my eulogy-monologue-play was funny! I had no intention of even sharing it. But all this happened because I posted it online. That was the easiest part!
So, what’s the point of creating art of any kind if you aren’t going to share it? With the internet and personal websites, it’s too easy not to! I told one of my students this when he approached me about writing a webcomic. If you want to, there is no reason not to.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
For further reading, check out the winning copy of Father’s Day.