After three years my play, “Cancer: It’s Not For Everyone,” is about to hit the boards at the Chapel Street Players (CSP) in Newark, DE. Well, kind of.
On November 15, CSP, which is the parent of playwriting group CSP NEXT, is kindly holding a public reading of the play. The goal is to get people to come in, spend two hours listening to a draft show, and give their comments. Then I go back and rewrite and polish.
It’s pretty interesting stuff actually.
Playwriting – at least the way it’s done here – is not a solitary endeavor. Admittedly, there are a lot hours toiling alone on first drafts, but once a month the group gets together, we read each other’s work, give and take around structure/character/pacing/plot, and then we go home and polish. It’s a safe place to take chances.
Three years ago I was lucky to live through a cancer episode – Burkitt’s Lymphoma. Burkitt’s is a nasty, aggressive blood cancer that ravages mostly children in Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s rare in the USA with about 1,000 people being annually diagnosed. It’s pretty curable for young people if caught early and the survival rate for old goats like me is about 50 percent.
Anyway, when I was sick I had this vision of writing a play that wasn’t all that maudlin and telling my story. That was kind of the genesis of the show. After Chemo I came away with the belief that if you believe, really believe you can survive, your chances are vastly improved, but if you are not sure you’re sunk. You have to have an unstoppable belief in your own positive outcome – even then nothing is guaranteed.
Anyway half the show occurs in the hospital room and half the show occurs in the body as fast dividing cells, drugs and cancer cells wage war. I think the story is pretty compelling. I’m pretty sure I got the lion’s share of it about right, but having experienced actors say it, and a live audience hear it and comment will give me some insight for another polish.
I guess that’s it for now.