Monday, October 14, 2013


Molly K. (Sophie) kissing Aidan D. (Thomas)

Holy smokes. I just got back yesterday from what has now taken the honored spot of 'most amazing thing that's happened to me' in my life.

I got to attend both performances, Friday and Saturday, of the One Act Play Festival at the Words Players theater in Rochester, Minnesota.

As those who read my blog know, I wrote a short play called Favorite Color about a girl who tries to teach a blind boy about color through senses other than sight. It was so much fun, and I loved the story. Despite some rather crushing criticism, I couldn't be convinced that it wasn't beautiful, and I submitted it to Words Players, hoping they would choose it for the One Act Plays.

Not long after submitting Favorite Color, I learned that Words Players might be closing. I was upset at the thought of the theater closing down, and not actually because that would mean my play would never have a chance of being seen on a stage.

No - I was upset because, for me, it was a truly devastating thought that an organization as special and unique as Northland Words might be disappearing from the world. Fortunately, through donations, support, and prayers, the theater was able to stay open and the One Act Play festival would go on.

I learned that my play had been selected while I was at work on September 9th, 2013.

This past Friday, my Dad drove me to Rochester for the opening night of the One Act Plays...of my play.

I got to meet the most incredible people as soon as I walked into the theater. One of my fellow playwrights, a man named John Byrne, greeted me and immediately asked me about my play. It's cool and unusual for me to meet someone and have them just understand this weird thing that I did: write words for actors to repeat and walk around to.

Everyone was happy to see me - surprisingly so. I really did not expect so many people - directors, actors, audience members, staff - to approach me and tell me how happy they were that I came. I knew or recognized quite a few people from previous times that I'd been there, and for some reason I always feel at home when I walk into that place.

I was also surprised by the enthusiastic response of my family and friends who were there. My grandparents, my godfather, and my boyfriend's mom, grandma, and younger siblings came. The second night, my mom and all but 3 of my siblings came. It was so awesome to be able to share it with them.

My play was the second one performed both nights, and I cannot even express how perfect the cast was. A friend of mine, Abby, played the mother (or, in the case of the second performance, sister) character, which I couldn't have been happier about. I've known her as long as I've known Words Players, and it really was a blessing for her to be a part of it. Sophie Rood, my feisty female protagonist, was played by a wonderful young lady named Molly. Molly is seriously like Sophie come to life - she was absolutely, spot-on perfect. Thomas White was played by Aidan, and he made the character so believable. It was almost like watching a real conversation between two people.

And the strangest thing was, I had never before been able to imagine my play actually being performed. I had never been part of theater in any big way before, so it seemed to me that Favorite Color could never smoothly transition from words on a page to a performance. But it did. It was beautiful.

I don't want to sound pompous, but, of all seven plays, mine was my favorite. I enjoyed mine the most. Not just because I wrote it, but because the actors just ran with it and made it so completely delightful. I enjoyed seeing the play I had written really come to life.

I got to meet the cast of my play, and the young lady who directed it. It was like meeting long-lost friends. I immediately loved all of them, because they were part of something I had made. The second performance had a few changes, because after the first night, we talked about some of the ideas they'd had - they thought about changing Abby's character from the mother to the sister, so that she could be texting while she was supposed to be leading Thomas safely through the park. I told them I would love to see that, so on Saturday night, they did it.

Seated: Clare Speltz, author of FAVORITE COLOR
Standing: Abby Kuhlmann, Aidan Driscoll, director Valerie Sauder, Molly Kiley

Abby, Aidan, Valerie, Molly, and I.

There is so much more. So much. This was the greatest experience and biggest blessing of my life. I can't fit it all in one blog post; the things that were said and all the emotions I felt. And it really wasn't even that big of a deal; I wrote an 8 minute play, three kids performed it twice, and I just so happened to be there. 

But, when I had been told that my play was terrible, and I was sitting in front of my laptop, trying to weigh the criticism I'd received and trying to decide whether or not to scrap the whole thing, there was something that I asked God for very specifically. I asked that it would not get accepted by Words Players unless it would bring Him glory and honor. I said, "This is not mine, this is Yours. I give it to You." And if there was one thing that this play was, to me, and to so many people, it was a blessing. I have never felt so blessed by an experience before, and I know that is because my prayer was answered. My play brought God glory and honor in some small way, and that makes it a big deal. At least to me.

Sometime last year, I wrote these words on the top of a page in my writing notebook:

It may not change the world, 
but it changes you.

I wasn't even sure what I meant by this, until now. My play, and the experience of having it chosen and performed, may not have changed the world. But it has changed me. It has rekindled a fire in me that I was letting die out. It has shown me the power of completing something, and being brave enough to send it out into the world, and see what comes back.

If you would like to see my play, you can! The second performance was captured on tape and posted online. 

Also, if you would like to watch the Talk Back discussion I took part in after the performance, it is here

I hope you enjoy it - let me know! 

The question people have been asking me since Friday night is this: will I keep writing plays?

Absolutely. I may never stop. I never thought of having plays performed as a form of publication, but now I think it may be the best form. When a book gets published, everyone reads the same words. When a play is performed, every performance is unique. Little things are always new and better. I know of at least one woman who might die of joy if I wrote a play for the homeschool group my siblings are in, so that might be a good place to start. 

Abby Kuhlmann, author of JOURNEY TO MADRID, and Clare Speltz, author of FAVORITE COLOR

Abby and I, grinning because we're playwrights and we know it.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this in any way at all. 

Thank you Dad for being my biggest fan. Thank you Dad, Mom, and Anna for your editing and critiquing. Thank you Amy for being excited for me and with me. Thank you Steve for believing in me. Thank you Words Players for choosing my play. Thank you Valerie for directing it. Thank you Molly for being the best Sophie I could ask for. Thank you Aidan for being a perfect Thomas. Thank you Abby for being willing to take the role of mother/sister when someone else dropped out, and for being such a good friend. Thank you to Tim and Juliet for coming when I never imagined you would. Thank you Terri, Sandy, Maggie and Joe, for coming even though I'm just your son/grandson/brother's girlfriend. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for coming and telling me my play was the best, even if it wasn't true. Thank you Catherine for coming all the way from West Saint Paul just for my play. Thank you Mom for coming all the way from home. Thank you Meg, for coming even though it was crazy inconvenient. Thank you Joe, Terese, and Ella for being so patient while I chatted till way past your bedtime. Thank you Daved Driscoll for being so generous with your time and opening up many doors for me to pray about. Thank you to everyone who went out of their way to tell me they loved it. Thank you to everyone whose name I may have forgotten, because I have not forgotten you. 
And thank you, for all your prayers and support. It means so much. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That is absolutely phenomenal and I am so happy for you! I wish I could have seen the play. Congrats!