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Writing the perfect ending | HMTC This Week | Entertainment


This week I am in Sacramento with the play “Death of a Social Security Benefit.” I was given a director, dramaturge, stage manager, equity actors, plenty of rehearsal space and an apartment.

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My job is to refine the play for the B Street Theater Comedy Festival that starts June 30 and ends July 2. If you are in Sacramento this week, see my play either Friday at 9 p.m. or Saturday at 5 p.m.

My main task was to redo the ending. It had been problematic for me for some time. The lucky thing is I was given three days before the festival to experiment with endings.

The important thing in a process like this is to listen. The director would say “I need …” and the dramaturge would say, “The play Is missing…” Even the stage manager would have some insight.

After a couple of director/dramaturge/playwright meetings, I would make adjustments. I worried I might not have enough time to make the perfect ending. After the last meeting, I went for a hamburger.

This morning I woke up at 5 a.m. to work on the ending of the play. I scrapped the last ten pages and started again. I reflected on questions the team had and by 9 a.m. I sent the pages to the stage manager to copy for the 12:15 p.m. rehearsal.

At rehearsal I was anxious. The director worked with the actors on their characters and on the final staging for the show. The director added lighting and sound cues and the crew diligently wrote it down to make it happen. Finally at 3 p.m., the actors read the new pages I wrote.

I was at the edge of my seat, biting my nails until the stage direction reader said, “end of play.” Instantly all the people in the room looked at me with a big smile and the director shouted, “It works!”

I did a happy dance around the table and literally jumped several times with joy.

I feel very fortunate that B Street Theater picked my play to be in the festival.  For me, just having this opportunity to refine my play and hear a director say the play works, is good enough for me.

Silvia Gonzalez Scherer is the Executive Artistic Director of the Hanford Multicultural Theater Company. 

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