Last night was my play reading and WOOO FUCKING HOO IT ROCKED!!
It was funny and people laughed and then laughed some more and one person was seen taking a sip of red wine and laughing and then having to SPIT THAT WINE RIGHT BACK INTO THE GLASS which is not just a sign of good gags but also a sign of serious fucking class and I think his mother would be very proud indeed.
But the things that pleased me included the fact that the audience was predominantly male and this was a story where the main character was female and talked alot about her feelings and some may have relegated this type of story to a sort of 'chick-lit' play but actually it appealed to blokes too and they laughed loudly (and in some cases hysterically) and I think that laughter is an instant sort of indicator that an audience is understanding what you are getting at.
Also...although this was not a play about infertility per se, it was a play where the four characters happen to be infertile. What I realised via the day long workshop, the reading and the discussion afterwards was that this play is actually about love and the dying of sexual intimacy and the resilience (or not) of relationships.
Not shiny sparky new relationships with all the rampant sex and giggles but the sort of relationship that's been going a few years now and for the four years previously has been subjected to the slow crushing glacial pressure of infertility which is starting to warp one character's general perception of what is normal, what is safe, what is suspicious.
And so these two people who fell into each other's lives and loved each other and adored each other and spoke the same language are essentially being wrenched apart but in a slow creeping insidious sort of way.
And then something happens. A terrible thing. An accident. And a secret. And the play begins from here.
And so again that kind of increases the universality of the play. Because...people have relationships, and secrets and things they want to tell their partner but just can't. And guilt.
And also, sometimes (perhaps more often than you might think) little hairy rat-like dogs who appear to be wearing eyeliner.
It is not Theatre In Education For The Barren as one of my friends observed.
But back to the jokes because as well as being tragic and dramatic, it's funny as well. In the feedback session one audience member noted that it was big laughs for three quarters of the play and essentially none in the last quarter. And that seems a fairly good equation to me.
Characters having sex on stage is reasonably interesting, but vastly improved by having one of those characters decide they don't really feel like it after all and the other character having to eventually scream: "But you've had quicker wanks in the shower. It's Day 14 and I'm ovulating so pull yourself together and give me some sperm!"
I do think the sperm ballet worked although I'm not totally sure why.
People who liked the monologue about taking long walks late at night to exercise your dog (but actually to avoid your wife) seemed to really like it and their faces became pinched and sad when other people tried to suggest that the dog monologue had no real place here.
Some people came up to me and said they thought the play was good to go. "Like now. On. Get it on stage. You will iron out any problems in rehearsal. Quickly go." Other people wanted to talk about "removing a subplot".
The actors were fantastic and made my lines funnier and sadder and more poignant and that's fine because THAT'S THEIR FUCKING JOB.
And finally, I got one of my characters to use the words: dildocam, foot long needle, trigger shot and lala in the same monologue.
It's the little things that count.