That Time I …..Wrote A Play

These past two semesters at NSU have made up my final year as an undergraduate student. The three years leading up to my senior year were filled with science classes and labs, leaving me little time to invest in creative projects of my own. Medical school is my destination after I graduate, but before I got there, I wanted to write a play that I had been thinking about for a long time. After applications were finished and I had taken the  MCAT and major classes, I finally had more time to myself, so I thought, why not?

Cool. I wanted to write a play. I’d been thinking about the overall plot, characters and different themes I wanted to include and the subjects I wanted to deal with. By late August, I had a professor to mentor and supervise me. She gave me all the support I needed, and everything was set. I knew I wanted to have the play ready to stage for a reading by the end of the academic year, so that meant I had eight months. Sounded like plenty of time— all I had to do was write. How hard could it be?

Very hard. How could I pull characters with lives, dialogue, moods, actions, attitudes and relationships out of thin air and put them onto paper? I had to really think deeply about every word I wrote, had to re-read each scene multiple times, had to make sure every stroke of the keyboard was perfect because, much to my own frustration, I couldn’t produce a rough draft and then edit later. For me, it has to be exactly how I want it, or else I can’t move on. So that’s what I did. It took me five to seven hours to write a 10 page scene and even more for longer ones. Every week I met up with my professor and showed her my work, and I would take her suggestions, go back and clean up the scene or start the next one.

By February of this year, my play, titled Apna, was complete. I had to hold auditions for the staged reading, cast characters for all the roles and schedule rehearsals. This entire experience has been unbelievable. I managed to create a play, construct an entire world and a reality with unique characters, put that all into words on a page and then get together a group of people to bring the play to life. It has been amazing, and nothing has been more satisfying to me than seeing my characters realized before my eyes.

I chose to write a play because I love theatre and feel that it’s the best way to tell a story. Films are great, but to see the action in front of you, to see the stage and the actors and all the elements of the plot in the same room, gives you a much more intimate connection to what is being presented. You are seeing the story unfold right in front of your eyes in a way that involves you. You’re a part of the show; you are there while it all happens.

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