When I was little, I would watch Little Miss Sunshine on repeat. Once a week for a year. This week I watched my own play performed at least twenty times. But the difference is, Little Miss Sunshine never got old and I never doubted if it was a good movie or not. We call ourselves critics when it comes to others, but I have wanted more to curl up in a ball when faced with my own work than I ever questioned the quality of Little Miss Sunshine. This is why I have become fond of the term “self critic,” it is a nicer way of saying we hate ourselves. Our seven week playwriting unit has made me realize something similar: sometimes we need to be embarrassed.
During our unit, we wrote ten page plays to the prompt of revulsion. The entire week we rehearsed my play, I couldn’t stop worrying that people were going to hate it. I knew people would think I was gross. When the performance day came, I watched everyone’s plays in the audience. My play then came on, I was barely watching it. Instead I was looking at the audience to see what they thought. The lights went out and the audience applauded. I heard someone behind me say: “that was so weird.” What surprised me more than the fact that I hadn’t curled into a ball when my play started was that I didn’t break into tears or feel embarrassed after I heard that, I smiled, because it was weird. Playwriting is a weird process and an even weirder outcome, my weird outcome is that I never would’ve written what I wrote if I didn’t accept that it would make me feel embarrassed. I’ve also noticed that plenty of plays have at least one weird thing about them, depending on what your portrayal of “weird” is. So, today I’m going to watch Little Miss Sunshine again for the first time in years and accept that it was a little weird too.