SHOW TITLE: Writer’s Block.
PRODUCER: The World Crime League
SHOW DESCRIPTION: An author finds herself held prisoner in an undisclosed location by unknown captors, forced to write a book by an unspecified deadline or else be shot. As time ticks by, her grip on reality starts to slip away.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: These kinds of metafictional premises can be really hit-or-miss, but boy, do I love ’em when they hit.
INTERVIEWEE: Andrew Rosdail (playwright)
Just who do you think you are, anyway?
My name is Andrew Rosdail and I am an actor, writer, occasional director, and first time Fringe producer. I’m originally from Iowa, but I have lived in Minneapolis for the last four years. During that time, I have acted in several productions around the Twin Cities and have had a couple of my plays produced here, too; Uncle Walt in 2014 (Brazen Theatre) and my one-act Belong Dead in 2015 (Gadfly Theatre). I have also had plays produced in Milwaukee and Ypsilanti, Michigan.
So what’s the big idea?
Ali “Alvin” Miller is the best-selling author of the wildly successful Incredible Adventures of Don Juan Casanova series of books, but has not written anything in several years. She finds herself held captive by an unknown party, in an unspecified location, and given an undesignated period of time to write a new novel. If she is unable to finish this novel before this time runs out, she will be shot. As the clock ticks down the indefinite minutes, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur as she comes face to face with Don Juan Casanova himself.
Writer’s Block. features Sarah Parker as Ali “Alvin” Miller, Varghese Alexander as Boris Callahan, Andy Rakerd as Don Juan Casanova, and Avery Breyne-Cartwright as Martin Colton.
How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?
I wrote the original draft of Writer’s Block. back in 2011, late one night at grad school when I was procrastinating work on projects that probably needed my more immediate attention. Deadlines were looming, but I was stuck and decided to write a one-act play instead. After I wrote my first draft, I put it away for a couple of years, because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it, frankly. I didn’t hate it, so I didn’t throw it out, but I put it away.
A few later, I took it out again, inspired by the frustrations I felt authors like George RR Martin must feel; while it must be reassuring and gratifying to have such devout fans loving your creations and wanting more of it, it must also be grating to be pestered to hurry up work you’d rather take your time with. It made me wonder if there were days were Martin lost his passion for his projects, due to these demanding fans. After revisiting and revising the script, I put it aside once again.
During my last revisiting of the script, I took inspiration from the current connection between fan and artist. Thanks to the internet and social media, it is easier for fans to reach out to their favorite authors, musicians, and other entertainers. While they can heap praise unto them, more often than not they dole out their discontent if a story takes a turn they don’t agree with or they try to pitch their own ideas for what the artist should have done or what they should do. Lately, we’ve seen how ugly this can get and how much of a double-edged sword social media can be. When so-called fans threaten their favorite artists or wish death or injury upon them…well, it’s fair to say that it’s gone a little too far.
So yeah…all these things were on my mind when I wrote, rewrote, and rewrote again.
Why should I care?
Writer’s Block is a dark comedy that takes an unflinching look at the creative process and its perils, as well as how that process is further hampered when well-meaning but impossible-to- please fanbases become truly fanatic. Writer’s Block. also addresses the pitfall of creating work one isn’t truly passionate about and shows dire circumstances manifest as deadlines approach quickly and with no apology .
Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.
Writing words is hard
And now her mind is going
Things could be better…
Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!