Read-throughs can be fun to attend as a reader or gopher but when you’re the writer, you can only gird your loins and approach it as an instructive exercise.
One of the nice things about a closed read-through is that the atmosphere is collegial: it’s okay to say, This dialogue sucks because it’s understood that the speaker will then say why it sucks, and maybe even suggest how it can be made to suck less, all in a thick fug of We’re here about the work.
A public reading – well, that’s a different kettle of hedgehogs. There’s the possibility – no matter how remote in these ever-so-polite South Pacific isles – that someone in the crowd will say, That sucks! and hide in the mass of unfamiliar faces. And I suspect that stalking up and down the stage eye-fucking every suspicious-looking audience member and yelling WHO SAID THAT? is not really the look I want to promote.
Saturday’s public reading had no such impromptu drama – all the drama was scripted, there was polite applause, and at the end of each reading, there were questions and comments that forced the writers to think and consider.
Ah, humanity: how I love thee at times.
With just over four weeks to go (30 days, to be precise), the production exudes a quiet confidence while the writer goes through 250 grams of cocoa product a day and worries at the script, desperately trying not to think that any day now, he will have to let go of it and trust in the director and actors.