Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Over the Moon

We're back in the "real" world after a few days at Rosebud Alberta participating in The Budding Playwrights' Festival, which was amazing. I will treasure the memories for a long long time.

When I googled some of the other writers/actors/directors I was totally intimidated - I was definitley the "newbie" in the crowd! I was so nervous to think my play, A Pattern in Blue would be read alongside those of such talented people. But they were all so affirming and kind.

Seeing my play rehearsed by professional actors under the direction of an amazing director (it just happened to be Adam Furfaro, the exec. director of Rosebud!) and then hearing the dramatic reading of it on stage - what a gift!

There were so many wonderful "coincidences." I, of course, had no control over who was chosen to do play the parts (my dad, the nurse and the Rabbi) but I was blown away by the 'fit.' There is a part in the play where a Rabbi recites the kaddish and I suggested it would be great if that could be done in Hebrew, but wrote out the English translation because I thought that would be highly unlikely.

But when we got to that point the man reading the part of the Rabbi told us his family were in fact German Jews - and oh by the way, he was a Hebrew scholar and he had taken the time to write out the Kaddish in Hebrew and even chanted it during the performance!

Adam (the director) had taken the time to do a lot of research on Bergen-Belsen, which he asked the actors to look at before they began the rehearsal. Then he asked where my dad had lived when he was a boy and I said, oh just a small town near Ottawa. The young man playing my dad asked what town. When I said, Perth he shook his head and said, "Wow. That's where I was raised. All my family still lives there!"

The girl who played the part of the nurse was quite young and not as experienced as the others, but under Adam's direction she rose to the challenge beautifully.

Right from the start the actors seemed to "get it." They asked insightful questions as the afternoon went on and then Adam started to give them some direction - just small things, the inflection in the voice, the pacing etc. that made all the difference.

My instructor (Lucia Frangione) and Adam both have encouraged me to expand the one act into a full two act play and Lucia has offered to direct me to a couple of companies in Calgary that she thinks might be interested in producing it!! WOW!

The icing on the cake was that two of my daughters and my husband were there to see/hear it too, and on my birthday!!

Can you tell I am over the moon? ;) I was so very impressed with it all and totally blessed to have been there to be part of it.

The only down side - I did have to come back to the "real" world! :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Journey to a Play by Marcia Lee Laycock

“Are you sure you’ll have time for that?”

My husband’s words struck a cord. I already had several fingers in several different pies. As a pastor’s wife, my time and energies were often in demand; as a freelance writer, deadlines often loomed and kept the pressure up. And then there was that book I had to finish.

But this was an opportunity I had wanted to take advantage of for some time – an online playwriting course, working one on one with a woman whose work I knew and respected. As I read the syllabus and scanned the application I knew the course would be demanding. The information came with a warning from the instructor, that if you weren’t serious about doing the work, don’t even begin.

So I prayed about it. The ideas I’d had in the past that always seemed to show up in my head as plays began spinning feverishly, demanding to be let out. So I downloaded the application, outlining the ideas I had, selecting the writing samples I would send and updating my CV. When I hit send I had a definite sense of excitement and anticipation.

Then the doubts set in. Was my work good enough? Would I be accepted? I tried to prepare myself for a possible rejection, but found I just couldn’t imagine not doing this course. Receiving the email that told me I was in made me leap out of my chair. Yes! I couldn’t wait to get started.

Then the work began – exercises geared to helping us choose a story, exercises geared to honing the skills necessary to make a play come alive on a stage. And the slow but tremendously exciting exercise of beginning to build a one act play. I found the process both challenging and exhilarating. I’d been feeling that I’d reached kind of a plateau in my writing and this was pushing me to a new level.

After ten months of work an email came saying, “This is ready. Congratulations.”

I stared at the words and wept. The idea of seeing my play in the hands of professional directors and actors left me breathless. And now it was going to happen. 

There will be nine plays featured in the Budding Playwrights’ Festival at the Rosebud School of the Arts on May 3-4. A Pattern in Blue will be one of them.

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short listed in The Word Awards. Marcia also has two devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.
Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded here.
Her most recent release is the first book in a fantasy series, The Ambassadors
Visit Marcia’s Website
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Friday, March 13, 2015

On Writers’ Conferences and Other Life-Changing Things

“Just call me Marci.”

Phil Callaway smiled. “That’s easier,” he said after confessing he was having a hard time deciding which syllable to emphasize in my name. Phil Callaway! I was standing there talking (and laughing with) Phil Callaway!

I had taken a leap of faith to get to the writers’ conference, held that year at Prairie Bible College, and I was already reaping the benefits. That was God Uses Ink, 199?  and I have attended almost every conference sponsored by The Word Guild ever since. I liked it when they changed the name to Write!Canada and moved to the beautiful campus at the Guelph Bible Conference Centre. The first few times I attended I was a bit intimidated but met some great people, other writers I could relate to and many who were to become mentors as well as friends, like Phil Callaway.

Most writers' organizations hold contests in conjunction with their conferences and Write!Canada is no exception. I always took advantage of that and benefited from the critiques and comments on my work. Now and then I even won a prize or two. It was a thrill and blessing to win the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for my novel, One Smooth Stone, at Write!Canada in 2007.

Receiving the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award, 2007
Being asked to teach at the conference was another special blessing in later years as I discovered the joy of watching students “get it,” take the skills I passed on and move forward to publish. Their endorsements encouraged me to pursue more opportunities to speak and teach and led to an added venue for my career.

And Phil Callaway wasn’t the only successful author I’ve been able to chat with. There have been many others, as well as agents and acquisitions editors.  They have inspired me and spurred me on in my calling. Last year’s keynote speaker had a particularly profound affect on me. I’m sure Ted Dekker’s words will resonate in my life for many years to come and being able to thank him in person as we chatted for a few moments just added the cherry to the top of the dessert.

I am often approached by people who want to write but aren’t sure how to get started. I always tell them about Write!Canada and other conferences like InScribe Christian Writers’ Annual Fall Conference. Attending might be the catalyst that breaks the inertia, the inspiration that lights a fire, the spark that turns a wannabe into a full fledged writer.

Are you in that place? Write!Canada is open for registrations now and InScribe’s conference will be soon. 

Take the leap of faith. You’ll be glad you did.