This weekend, I return to hosting SATURDAY WRITE FEVER, the monthly writing party and instant-scripted-new-works theater festival I co-founded with Stuart Bousel! It was a 2014 San Francisco Magazine Best Of The Bay pick, and it’s not quite like anything else I’ve done. Here are five reasons why:
5. You never know what you’ll see.
While it’s always monologues, created in an on-site 30 minute writing sprint and read onstage that night by gutsy actors, there’s no way of anticipating the tone or content of what you’ll see. Sometimes, it’s mostly funny. Sometimes there are brutally emotional pieces, or politically charged moments. From piece to piece, and from month to month, there’s just no telling what will crop up.
4. You never know who will come.
Because we run it open mic style, no advance sign-ups and no pre-booked artists, you never know if the room will be heavy on actors, heavy on writers, teeming with fresh blood, or filled with old friends.
3. You never know what you’ll write.
Because the writers draw prompts randomly that night, right at the start of the 30-minute drafting sprint, there’s no way to anticipate or pre-game your piece. You’ve got to go with what sets you off in the heat of the moment. The atmosphere and situation can break you out of your creative habits and patterns… and with only 30 minutes to draft in, there isn’t time to pull back to safety, so you’ve gotta follow that instinct, no matter where it takes you. (Sometimes you have to go into the jungle, ya dig?)
2. You never know who will surprise you.
Because the actors are randomly paired with monologues, they may end up playing anything from a sweet kid to a serial killer, and will often end up cast way against type. It’s a chance to see new facets of local performers, who may totally surprise you with skills you didn’t realize were in their bag of tricks. Typecasting is pretty rampant in most theater communities, and the Bay Area is no exception. It’s been a joy to see some performers shake off those limits and bust out characterizations at SATURDAY WRITE which make me say “Hey, that person could be great for this role I’m writing… and I never would’ve thought of them for that character, based on what I’ve seen them do before.”
1. You always know you’ll see your work performed.
When you sign up to write at a FEVER, you are guaranteed that your writing will reach an audience. That. Very. Night. As a playwright, it’s typical to wait months (or sometimes decades) between creating your first draft and having the opportunity to hear and see and share that work with a public audience. With the work often being performed for the crowd within minutes of the final pen mark hitting the paper, SATURDAY WRITE is as close to instant gratification as a playwright can get.
This month, the prompts will be themed around chase scenes; pursuers, pursued, and the things that stop us in our tracks. If you’re free in San Francisco this Saturday, so are we; come on by the Exit Theater cafe!
Xoxo – Megan