Yesterday Chaela and I went to yoga. The new york yogis do not fuck around and my muscles were shaking in 5 minutes! I met Gabrielle in the afternoon. She lives a few blocks from Union square. She came shuffling down the long hall of her modern loft in her plush gold-flowered maroon slippers and wearing all black. I felt like a fat cow compared to her thin, gaunt frame. Her well styled black hair was pulled back into a bun. She told me that she had been reading my piece and that while it was a beautiful writing it was not theater. She also said that my character has no transformation and that people go to theater to be transformed. She said, “as of right now, this piece leaves me no room to direct.” Then she said, “you know if you don’t mind, let’s get right to work, ok?” She set me up on the couch and her assistant sat with us. She told me to just talk about the rape with no filter, no censor, as if I was telling it to a friend. So I did for 20 minutes, looking mostly at the director's assistant because I was so nervous. Gabrielle stopped me at some point and said, "ok, hon. You need to go and find your voice. I see the framework and you fill the frame with your voice. Not the voice of the dazed, disassociated woman in post traumatic shock that your original piece is written from. The voice of the Heather now. The feisty, transformed, vulnerable, humourous, woman who had the bravery and courage to write this piece." She gave me some suggestions of what that voice would sound like. She said either you can write it on your own or we can do this back and forth together. I told her I would think on which approach worked better for me. She gave me a hug and we agreed to be in touch.
I rushed home and changed into my most “New York” outfit ($20 bucks at Ross) to meet up with Jan and Suzette at their friend's brownstone on the upper east side. I came home and stayed up until 4am talking with my Chaela about my piece, about rapists, about what I'm trying to say, about how much I've changed since the last time I've written, about what the director wants me to do.
Today, I spoke with Gabrielle. She said, "Heather, I’ve thought about this arrangement of us working together. I think you need to just write on your own other wise I am going to take over. Not because I want to but because that’s just what will happen. So go to a coffee shop or to the park, you’re in a new city, that can often be good… and get to work. And keep it quick and short. Lots of lists. Humor. Terse. That is the voice I am looking for."
I cannot believe I am rewriting my piece. From the beginning. But here I go into the flow of writingland...