Be Our Guest at Once Upon a RUSH!

by | Feb 20, 2019 | Playwriting, Theatre Unleashed | 0 comments

About

Gregory Crafts

Gregory Crafts

Creative Multi-Hyphenate

An award-winning multi-hyphenate creative artist, with more than twenty-five years of experience as an actor, playwright, director, designer, and theatrical producer under his belt, Greg graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA with a Bachelor’s in Theatre Studies in 2003. Soon after, Greg migrated to Los Angeles seeking adventure in the entertainment industry. He currently resides in North Hollywood, CA with his wife, Jenn, and their three cats.

Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth, and the Featherduster in Be Our Guest, part of Once Upon a RUSH. Photo by Carlos R. Hernandez.

Quick entry this week as I’m late, I’m late for a very important date.

Well, not really, but as I talked about last week, I’ve got a lot going on right now. Between Ada and The Engine at Theatre Unleashed, some big developments with StageCrafts, a couple auditions, and… oh dear god, I know I’m forgetting all the things.

I’m not in a place to do a fresh accountability post at the moment. However, there’s a LOT happening at the moment, and I’m really excited about most of it, so look to hear a whole bunch of stuff about a whole bunch of different things next week. 

However, there is one thing in particular I’d like to highlight right now, because it opens tomorrow night…

 

Be Our Guest

Tomorrow night, my new 10-minute play, Be Our Guest, opens at The Belfry Stage, presented by Force of Nature Productions as a part of Once Upon a RUSH

When I was recruited to write for this show back in January, I was given a Disney movie (Beauty and the Beast), a location (Santa Cruz), and two props (a yoga mat and a fake rose). I also got to meet my director (Jonathan Fahn, who also provides the voice of Jiminy Crickett) and cast (Benjamin Scuglia as Cogsworth, Susan Dziama as Featherduster/The White Rabbit, Hettie Lynne Hurtes as Mrs. Potts, and Heidi Appe as The Wardrobe/Terk). 

This presented an interesting challenge for me, as I’m used to getting a line of dialogue, an open-ended concept, or a song title as a prompt, plus a casting requirement (ie “write for 2 girls” or “two guys and a girl”, etc)… and that’s it. I don’t know for whom I’m writing, and I don’t know who’s directing because that won’t be decided until the morning, after the script is finished. I’m off to the races and the script has to be done and brilliant by sunrise. 

Not so much in this case. Here, I had a week to write the script, but I honestly found all of the prompts a little restrictive. I wound up repeatedly quashing creative impulses because they didn’t fit the requirements, and knowing I was expected to “write for the actors” meant I had to play to their strengths and comforts, not for the characters and stories that were necessarily my first impulse to go with.

Creating a short play using a methodology I’m not accustomed to was an interesting challenge, and it forced me to think outside the box. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity, although I’m not sure I’d repeat it. 

That being said, I still managed to create a script of which I am very proud, and I only turned it in a day late. 

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to be able to see it, as it’s only running three nights. I’m in rehearsal for two of them, and closing is already sold out. 

I’m really bummed. I know these guys have been working hard. They’re glowing with passion and enthusiasm and a genuine love for the work they’re doing. And the pictures look f’ing amazing! 

So, even if I can’t be there, I strongly recommend you go and check it out tomorrow or Friday. 

 

They never get old.

Something Awesome

Okay, because most folks on the Internet have no sense of humor, I feel the need to qualify this week’s Something Awesome: killing kids is not awesome.

But you know what is?

Collaboration. Feedback. Revision. Development.

Forward progress. 

I kind of buried the lede last week, but last Sunday, I had a small, intimate gathering at The Belfry Stage to read the latest draft of my latest play, Tattered Capes

The reading was excellent. I tried a few new things with this draft. Some worked, some didn’t. Some things sounded awesome. Others utterly cringe-worthy. Most importantly though, the feedback I received as diverse and opinions divided. Which, believe it or not, was right where I wanted it to be. 

My path forward is clear. It’s going to take a lot of work to get the next draft done, and my deadline is short (next Friday. FML), but achievable. 

Yeah, but knowing me, I’ll probably blow it and get it in by the following Monday. 

So this week’s Something Awesome is the red ink I’m spilling all over my script, tearing through it like Anakin with his red lightsaber, killing all of my darlings.

OhShit.GIF

And I wouldn’t be able to enjoy this bounteous wholesale slaughter of ideas (and characters) without the amazing friends that willingly, dare I say eagerly shared their time, their voices, and their insight with me. 

Thank you Julia Plostnieks, Caroline Sharp, Travis Dixon, Heather Smith, Dallis Seeker, Coleman, and Emily Donn for reading. Thank you Jenn, Jake, Lexi, Chris, Mike, Tara, Heidi, Tom… oh Lord help me, I’m forgetting people. If you were there, shout it out in the comments and slap me upside the head when you see me next. But thank you all for being there. Without you, this story would not be possible. 

And stay tuned, because there’s some big news coming this weekend about this show. 

Also, for those of you who are interested in new plays and how they’re developed, I uploaded the video of the reading to my YouTube channel. You’re welcome to check it out:

About

Gregory Crafts

Gregory Crafts

Creative Multi-Hyphenate

An award-winning multi-hyphenate creative artist, with more than twenty-five years of experience as an actor, playwright, director, designer, and theatrical producer under his belt, Greg graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA with a Bachelor’s in Theatre Studies in 2003. Soon after, Greg migrated to Los Angeles seeking adventure in the entertainment industry. He currently resides in North Hollywood, CA with his wife, Jenn, and their three cats.

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