Strange Mary Strange
The Button Factory
Setting: Inside an airplane cabin.
The piece explores a woman’s struggle to shake the ghosts and voices of her past as she struggles to move forward and allow herself a chance at happiness.
What aspects of the play were you looking to explore during the workshop?
I initially wrote this piece as a short story and have struggled to adapt it into a theatre piece without losing the lyrical quality of the writing from the short story. There are three versions of the character of “Mary” at three specific points in her life. My main goal was to deconstruct the three different “Mary’s” and give them each a distinct voice. I also wanted to explore ways to create action through memory and create a linear structure to the piece while navigating the unstructured human mind. Not an easy task!
What did you discover about your script or yourself during the workshop?
I discovered so many different things about both this script and myself during this process. As the workshop continued, I had to come to terms with the fact that this piece is not your traditional narrative. I always envisioned the piece as highly physical with potent images as its backbone. The style of the piece is a huge departure for me and it dawned on me as the workshop progressed that this piece is a fusion of physical theatre, images, music and text that requires a very different approach than I had originally anticipated. It’s a very exciting prospect and I look forward to tackling the piece with this in mind. It was a very liberating discovery.
As for what I discovered about myself, there were too many to list. It’s a vulnerable experience having your words spoken aloud and dissected by a group, but the workshop reaffirmed for me my love of collaboration. Working with all these different people and opinions could have been daunting, but I welcomed the feedback and ideas and realized once again the power of the collective mind.
What was the greatest benefit of the workshop?
The workshop was like a crash course in playwriting for me. I actually loved having a “deadline” for rewrites every night before the next day of working. Sometimes I find myself procrastinating while I write and this process forced me, (in a gentle way) to push through any obstacles and work my way through them. I made more strides with this piece in the three days of the workshop than in the last few months on my own.
I can’t tell you how instrumental Lisa and Pat the Dog have been, not only to my development of this piece, but also as a playwright. It’s a blessing to be given this kind of support and a safe environment to play and explore and exchange ideas with the only goal being to help develop work.