I've been meaning to write a blog post that is a response to the 24 hour playwriting contest but the contest took place during a busy and eventful week therefore I never quite got the chance to talk about it.I wrote the play in 24 hours but this year The Fringe decided to go digital by encouraging the contestants to deliver their plays via email instead of delivering the play in person for environmental reasons. That takes away the exciting element of rushing to deliver the physical copy of the play on time but at they same time this is actually a good reason to change the method of play delivery. We live in a digital age so why not use the technology that we have? It is way quicker and more people (in this case the jury) can view the document with a click of a button without even having to be in the same place as both the contestant and the person they are instructed to deliver the play to. In some ways the Fringe's efforts to decide to go digital are long overdue and it was in some ways...inevitable.
I didn't just write the play in 24 hours, I finished early (half an hour before the deadline). My reason for finishing early was the following: I stayed up till 4:30 in the morning, wrote almost non-stop with only short breaks for food, the bathroom, thinking things through, etc., drank a couple cups of strong coffee, and then stopped the moment I couldn't write or stay awake any longer.I did also had a very clear idea in mind in fact and had the whole story mapped out in my brain so the only thing stopping me from writing it earlier was the fact that I had to respect the rules and start at the same time as all the other contestants and I had to include the 4 words, phrases, and/or places that were announced on the day of the contest. I managed to get an okay amount of sleep but slept poorly because the moment I got to sleep I was tired but still very wired on coffee and bursts of coffee and all I could think about was my play. It probably didn't help that the moment I got to sleep there were birds loudly chirping outside my window on a completely different schedule than me. I woke up the next day, ate breakfast, and got straight to work on my play. I gave myself a comfortable amount of time to finish up and edit the play to perfection.
Okay, now I'm going to spill details about the play (don't worry there will be no spoilers). I'll start off by including the 4 things I had to include in my play, that had a metaphorical instead of a literal role in my play in particular. I would talk about the other plays but I of course have no idea what anyone else wrote. The four words, phrases, and/ or places in this year's contest were: 1) L-O-O or L-O-U, 2)a forgotten child, 3)a complex equation, 4)something in between the pages of a book. The only one that didn't have a metaphorical role in my play was number 1 which was a comment on one of the characters' names. The play is called "Ernie". It's based on a short story that I wrote recently and is a slightly different interpretation of the original story. I'm the only one who has seen the original story and when I read it I thought "this would make a great play" and I thought it would be interesting to tell the story from Ernie's perspective. The original was told through the perspective of the waitress, Lilly and she was telling a slightly different side of the same story that Ernie tells The Magazine Journalist in the play version. Ernie is a really interesting character. He is a writer and English professor with a unique way of looking at the world and a child-like sense of curiosity and fascination towards everybody and everything around him. In the short story version we don't get to see him enough and because he quickly became one of my favorite fictional characters I have ever created in one of my stories I wanted to incorporate this character into something else. The character of Ernie is vibrant, quirky,full of life, and always longing to learn about other people's lives so any story told through this character's perspective is equally as quirky, vibrant, and full of life as Ernie's character.
"Ernie" begins with the title character sitting beside the Magazine Journalist who is only interested in interviewing him about his short story anthology, The Restaurant Stories but cannot seem to interview him without Ernie asking a bunch of unrelated questions and making a bunch of unrelated comments that have nothing to do with her main question: "what inspired you to write the restaurant stories?" She eventually succeeds at getting Ernie to answer that question and the play revolves around him telling the story about the waitress and the restaurant that acted as a muse for his latest anthology.
I wrote that story in 24 hours but there is a part two to this contest as I mentioned before. I won't explain part 2, the judging in detail because I would be repeating something I already said in a previous post. I now know that, if I managed to come in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place I will find out via email this weekend and even if I don't I will still find out that this is the case. I don't mind if I don't win this part of the contest because it is awesome enough that I managed to write the play in 24 hours and it was a fantastic and truly wonderful writing marathon and I was extremely happy every moment. Well despite what I just said a part of me still believes that a professional reading of my play, at the Fringe Festival, in front of an audience would be a dream come true and if it doesn't happen this time around I just have to keep trying to make it happen one day, perhaps even in the form of a staging. If I do succeed at getting the reading it will probably take me a minute to believe that this isn't some extremely wonderful dream. Well, I'll just have to see what the judges decide. I'm ready for both results.