‘Let’s write our own play!’
While Tulya was sipping her tea, she carefully checked how her audacious proposal had changed the atmosphere. Three people stared at her, completely baffled. It was certainly true that we had not found enough actors for the script we had wanted to perform initially, but to write one ourselves? Wasn’t that a little bit too ambitious? Tulya thought not; she was determined as ever. She had a dream: To perform a play with her international theater group Wow-Effect.
‘Not on the small stage, we can fill the medium one. Twice!’ My lips creased into a smile. She truly was a woman with remarkable ambitions. But were they realistic? Writing a play is not something you just do, is it? This clearly was what our other two actors must have thought, as they left the group a few weeks later. Only Tulya and I were left then. The dream seemed to become an impossible fantasy.
Dreams and a leap of faith
Tulya however, wouldn’t hear of quitting. She kept on believing in her dream. And I kept standing beside her. Because however impossible it seemed to succeed, her trust was giving me trust as well. Besides, I had my own dream. A dream I would have never dared to admit was there, but Tulya had ignited the flame. Write a play, she had said. Write! A few months ago I had decided to devote myself to the art of writing. Never could I have dreamed that something amazing as a play would cross my path so soon. I could not do anything but embrace this opportunity without any further doubt.
Tulya’s determination helped us profoundly. We would call our play ‘Bedtime Stories’, because where else do our deepest feelings become more apparent than in the most intimate room of our home? We started brainstorming. Every week we improvised on the theme. And we shared our most valuable memories. At one of these evenings, Tulya had breathlessly listened to one of my memories, and her eyes ended up being watery. That was when we knew we had found our story. The time had come to search for actors.
A new beginning
The casting gave us more than we had ever hoped for. Almost 25 wannabe-actors had come, of which we kept 15. We absolutely didn’t want to send any talent away, so we had to find a way to write them all in our play. So we started to improvise again. Together we built our own play, piece by piece. Every beautiful bit, all the clever one liners and every interestingcharacter we wrote down, so we could implement them in the bigger piece. Together with a few actors we established a writer’s advisor team. Every week we came together to discuss improvements for the play. And for two whole months I spent my days writing scenes, followed by another two months of revisions.
And now the week has finally arrived to finish our masterpiece. I have searched for some unnoticed typos, I have rewritten a handful of lines and all characters without names finally got one. The script is finished, the roles are allocated, the stage is booked. It is going to happen. Tulya will get her dream. Her theater group will thrive on the Lindenberg’s stage. In the meanwhile, another great dream has come true as well: my dream. I was given the opportunity to write a play. On that very stage, the actors will play my story. And all of this is happening because of that powerful woman with her very ambitious dream, who thought no obstruction was big enough to change her intended path. A woman who has taught me to not dream my dreams, but to live them instead.
This is article is written by Tanya de Kruijff, based on her experience with Wow-Effect, as the writer of their first play, Bedtime Stories. The article first appeared in Dutch on the website of Theater group Gras, which can be found here.