• Kerry Kazmierowicztrimm

The Actor & the Playwright

As a playwright, I don't know if there's an experience quite as moving to me as seeing actors perform my words for the first time. And I'm very fortunate to be going through a period where I'm having the experience several times in rapid succession: Wicked Lit had auditions and callbacks for TEIG O'KANE AND THE CORPSE, I was in the studio with Beat by Beat Press for the recording of SALLY SELLS SEASHELLS (AND YOU CAN, TOO!), and next week Force of Nature Productions will be holding auditions for GRAY PEOPLE.

So I find myself thinking about why that experience of having my dialogue performed is always so moving for me - and I realize that it's not just the exhilaration and terror of waiting to see if my words even make any sense when read aloud (which, for a long time, is where I assumed that gut-punch sensation in my stomach was coming from) - though there is some of that.

I've always written characters from a place of pulling from my own emotional (and therefore sometimes traumatic) experiences. Even if the character comes from a completely different set of circumstances, I use the kernel of a situation I've been through as the most rudimentary of a jumping-off point for understanding their inner-life, then build from there. So when an actor starts to perform my words (not just speak, but finds the emotional and psychological motivation behind them), I feel like the he/she/they, in some small way, is saying, "I get what you've been through" - because they have their own experiences that are allowing them to get to a similar emotional place to the one from which I wrote the piece.

Silly as it may sound, in that moment, it's like the actor and I understand the tiniest part of the other's journey. And it never fails to make me feel a little less alone.

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