Here is my editor's note from the July 2009 issue. Reprinted by permission of The Dramatist, Journal of the Dramatists Guild of America. http://www.dramatistsguild.com/pub_dramatist.aspx
In 1995 I had a crazy plan. It was an unprecedented, no-good, “another fine mess I’ve gotten myself into” plan. I had just finished the second year of my BFA and I decided, rather suddenly, that I would write, produce, and star in a solo show. And over the summer I would tour this show to seven fringe festivals. I had never written a play. I had never performed a solo. And I had certainly never produced anything. But, for some reason, I decided I could.I think I was perhaps too young, naïve, and stupid to be terrified. Boy, I wish I was still that naïve and stupid. It made it much easier to hatch crazy plans. I have a lot more experience now, but there was a certain fearlessness born of ignorance that I can only remember with a sense of awe.
So, I borrowed $5000 from my Dad, a silver Dodge Spirit from my Mom, and hired the best actor I knew (my buddy Vik) to direct it. The costume came out of my closet, the set (two folding chairs) came out of a catalogue, and press materials were created on Word Perfect 5.1.
Now, I wasn’t completely without fear. Writing and rehearsing the piece induced a fairly paralyzing terror. In fact, I tried at one point to back out. I phoned the festivals but they wouldn’t refund my $3000 in participation fees. So, I pushed on out of financial desperation more than anything else. I set out on the festival circuit armed with a large pile of fliers made on a school computer, photocopied posters, and a staple gun. I hustled and annoyed people, pestered the press, and performed excerpts on local radio. I marched in parades in costume, wore T shirts emblazoned with the title, and implored my audience to spread the word after every curtain call. I was shameless.
And somehow, it worked. People came.Critics reviewed. Tickets sold. I made back the $5000 and then some. I met people. I signed with an agent. And although it makes me cringe to read parts of that script now, and I’m rather thankful video doesn’t exist, it remains one of the shows I have done in my life that I am proudest of. Not because it was particularly brilliant, but just because I actually did it.
I remember my director said to me,“there are a lot of people around here just waiting, waiting for the theatre fairy to come along and tap them on the head.” And no matter how harshly I judge my failures and successes since then, I cannot deny that that summer, fifteen years ago, I didn’t wait. Don’t wait. Do it. Do it yourself. And keep on doing it until other people notice. It’s really the only way.