Writing vs. Acting

This is a guest post by Raphael Kepinski, a winner of last year’s Solo Flights Emerging Playwrights Competition presented by the Solo Collective and The Playhouse Theatre Company. Raphael returns this year to perform one of the ’09 winning pieces on April 13. Details at bottom of page.

Solo Flights, The Emerging Writers Competition:  Writing vs. Acting
By Raphael Kepinski

raphael-kepinski-headshotLast year I wrote a piece for the Solo Flights Emerging Writers Competition and this year I am reading one. I have been asked to write about my experiences as a writer and as an actor for Solo Flights.

Being a writer is hard.  You have to sit still, at a computer, concentrate, have an idea, fact check, not check Facebook, not play video games, not watch TV, invent characters, think about character arc, have more ideas, type, proofread, print copies, distribute them, submit your work to the dramaturge, take feedback, accept feedback, learn to live with feedback, go back to your computer, make changes, add page numbers, proof read, print more copies, submit them, receive more feedback, live with feedback, more time at the computer, make more changes, submit, feedback, live, computer, proof, print, submit, over and over ad nauseum. It’s tedious work that wracks your brain and tries your patience.

Then the day arrives when it’s time to hand your baby over to the actor.  Now, that thing you had total 100% control over, that thing that in your mind’s eye was absolutely perfect, brilliant even, your baby, your work, your sweat, your anguish, your sleepless nights, that thing gets handed over to some mouth breathing, glossy eyed, hair gel wearing, actor. An actor who never felt your pain, never sat for hours at that computer trying to find a more poetic way of saying “underwear is worn on the inside”, never lived the things you lived while writing this perfect brilliance.  An actor.  To them what they hold in their hand is not epic, is not perfect, is not brilliant, it’s merely a script, just a script, just something to do on a Monday evening; jump up on stage, yell for emphasis, pause for effect, modulate their voice to sound interesting, make a silly face for laughs, wait for applause, eat the hors d’oeurves.  Another notch in their belt.

What’s worse; at the point of reading, the actor has all the control; a mispronounced word, emphasis given in the wrong place, a silly face when there was no call for one and your heartfelt monologue about your Grandma’s experiences in a World War II concentration camp and how she found forgiveness and happiness is quickly turned into a silly comedy with a slight pro-fascist undertone. So yeah being a writer is harder than being an actor.  And to add insult to injury, Solo Flights writers pay to submit their work, while the actors get paid to read it. Still, if your work is brilliant, it will live forever on the page to be read by hundreds maybe thousands of other actors. Meanwhile the actor is just some actor; easily forgotten, and easily replaced.

Solo Collective and the Playhouse Theatre Company present SOLO FLIGHTS, a night of monologues by some of Canada’s best new playwrights, Monday, April 13 at 7:30pm at the Playhouse Production Centre, 127 East 2nd in Vancouver.

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