So after two years, three readings and a three week season at fortyfivedownstairs, “True Love Travels on a Gravel Road” is done for now. Hopefully it will go on to have another life and we get to tour it (thanks in large part to the amazingly tourable set designed by Christina Logan-Bell) but we saw this phase of its life out with a lovely last performance that capped off a season that I am really proud to have played a role in.
I can’t speak for all writers but I imagine it is the same for most people. I am incredibly invested in every piece I write. Whether it be the short plays, collaborations with other people or the few short films I’ve done but my two full length plays have my absolute heart and soul in them. “True Love Travels on a Gravel Road” started life for me as a couple of scenes for a project that didn’t go ahead and grew into something that I could never have anticipated. It has been simultaneously one of the best and most terrifying experiences of my life. Some days I felt like I was on a tightrope and I have absolutely loved every minute of it, laughed a lot and been moved by the beautiful work of the cast and creative team. I have also felt incredible moments of responsibility, fear and self doubt which is all about me and nothing to do with the reality of the production and the amazing team behind it.
My overwhelming feeling is that my script and I have been absolutely blessed. We’ve had a dream run I am so thankful to have been able to share the journey with Beng, Emily, Glenn, Marnie, David, Chris, Liz and in it’s earliest incarnation, Lily and Laura. They are an incredibly talented,generous, funny group of artists and one of the things I will miss most now that the production is finished is that I will no longer have the luxury of hanging out, playing four square with them and having my work in their hands on a daily basis. Each and every one of them showed me new, undiscovered things about the characters and the script and for that, as well as a million other things, I am very grateful.
We were also blessed with a fantastic creative team, stage manager and venue. Fortyfivedownstairs and the people who run it are so dedicated and welcoming. Having our work there was wonderful for Beng and I and I am thrilled that as this is our third collaboration that we got to share that experience.
I don’t’ want this to sound like some sort of thank you speech. It is really just a reflection on a 2 year creative process in which I got to collaborate with a director and 8 actors on a play that for me, had a little bit of my DNA in every single line. The fact that the development process ended in a successful, happy, smooth production with lovely, appreciative audiences is a testament to the work of all of those people.
This experience will be hard to let go but that is the beauty of being a writer. One of the reasons I think I keep writing is that I need to try to fill that little piece of my brain and heart that has been occupied with a particular work for such a long period. Sometimes I felt like I had two full time jobs which was exciting but tiring. My next project won’t take the place of “Happily Ever After” or “True Love Travels” but hopefully it will be its own, different thing and I know I’ll be forced to start working on it again because of the nagging, little ache I’ll feel for the culmination of this premiere season of “True Love Travels”.
If my next writing experience gives me even a small portion of what this play and working with these people has, I will continue to consider myself absolutely blessed.