FAR FROM CHEKHOV (Part 1)

19 Mar

How a play goes from someone’s brain to a stage in New York City.

Part 1: The Idea.

I wrote a play. I’ve written a few, but this one… this “Far From Chekhov” is different for me. It’s a little terrifying, actually. I am a comedy writer. All I know is comedy and all I trust coming out of me and landing on a piece of well ruled paper is comedy. This play that our little club that could (Play Club) is producing at the end of May is a full length drama. My first full length dramatic stage play. The comedic influences that surrounded me, while I developed as a writer, were that of Strangers with Candy…

Images…which taught me that sometimes you can write badly on purpose and it can be hilarious. You can contradict yourself immediately and cross the boundaries of comfort and STILL make people laugh. All you need is a simple idea to make fun of… like… After School Specials. BAM!  You’ve got a funny show. And Arrested Development


Images-2
…which taught that I’ll never be as funny as Arrested Development. Ever. And then I started thinking about what I learned from a show like Roseanne

Unknown… which taught me that you can still write the comedic dialogue that you’re good at and have the funny characters, who’s punchlines you can’t wait for, also make you tear up. Let’s mix emotion with laughter. What a brilliant concept.

My writing has always been heavily influenced by television sitcoms. My experience, however, has always been strictly stage. When The Unknown Artists produced Right Together, Left Together:

One of the most common pieces of feedback I received was “I hate going to musicals, but I liked this one cause it felt like I was watching a television show.” So I thought, maybe I can do something different here for the stage. Bring in people who don’t normally find themselves in a theatre, but often in front of a television screen.

I had to try to master the art of dramatic writing. Not that I had “mastered” comedy, but my dramas had a lot more catching up to do as my dramatic influences were...

Images-1… which taught me that through the use of vocabulary, vocabulary that would give the SAT’S a run for their money, you can learn that “soul mate” doesn’t necessarily mean “boyfriend/girlfriend”. I also learned that Kevin Williamson was a genius.

I was writing safely for long time. You write what you know. Unrequited Love, kids in their early twenties trying to figure it out, getting married before you’re ready (not me personally, but many around me) but that wasn’t ALL I knew. That wasn’t all I thought about. I was just so terrified to expose some of my other thoughts and experiences. Letting people into a part of my mind that thought of things that weren’t about kittens and rainbows is not the easiest thing to do. Far From Chekhov is no American Psycho as far as “darkness” is concerned, but it’s got a bolder plot than I’m used to writing and that’s only because I realized, “I’m 27 years old and it’s time to write something a little edgier.” It was time to take some risks. It was gonna be hard, and I would go through several drafts before I felt that the characters didn’t sound like Dawson and Joey. But I was up to the challenge.

The first thing I had to do was sit down in front of a piece of paper and write the play.

PART 2 – The Play…


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2 Responses to “FAR FROM CHEKHOV (Part 1)”

  1. Eddie 2012 at : #

    I genuinely salute you for letting your guard down and opening up to your audience/readers. It isn’t easy, especially since it is obvious that what most people write about, is more than partially associated with their own life and experiences. Well done, Pam!

    • The Pam Quinn 2012 at : #

      Thank you Eddie! I always look forward to your feedback. I REALLY hope you make it to this one 🙂

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