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Mammoth in the Moon

This Spring, the Tilton Theater took on a new challenge of trying to workshop a script. When I was a student at Eckerd College, we did a thing called WordBridge. WordBridge was a playwright lab. New playwrights would bring their scripts to the school and we would stage them, work scenes, and help them rewrite their work to make it more polished. Just seeing your words on the page was never as powerful as hearing them outloud and seeing action in front of your eyes. Anika Tullos had written a script for her capstone project and I thought it would be a good experience to try the WordBridge formula out here at Tilton School.

The Mammoth in the Moon went through five versions before this idea took shape. Once we started staging it the script underwent changes. It was a real challenge that Anika handled like a professional. Imagine something that you care about greatly, something that you created and now we are going to examine it from every angle, cut it up, delete pages of it, write new pages, and the final version is nothing like what we started with. It’s tough. In the movie business it’s called “killing your darlings.” Sometimes they say babies instead of darlings but that’s a lot more graphic to think about. What it means is that even the best parts, the parts you love, sometimes need to be destroyed for the best of the work as a whole. It’s painful to have to do.

Version fourteen made it to the stage and I have gone home from our second night of performance. The show is over and the other difficult part of theater is hitting me. The play is gone. It is not like a painting that can sit on the wall or a movie we can watch again. Theater is fleeting. Even if we get the exact same cast and crew again in the future and try to do the same play, it will never be the same. It is forever lost to the past. A memory to hold onto that may grow more and more ethereal as we age. Some say that’s the beauty of theater. This is a cast and crew that I will remember for a long time.

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