Towards the end of last year, I received the opportunity to be an assistant/student in playwright Andrew Saito’s masterclasses at the Cutting Ball Theatre. The subject was dream theatre. In-between my urgent managements of water pitchers and printers (another education of a very different type), I wrote my short play, possessed by the lively and exacting spirit of both the instruction and genre.
A while later, the Cutting Ball Theatre asked to include my play in their fall show of short Avant-Garde drama. CW artist-in-residence Isaiah Dufort stepped in to direct it. Working in Isaiah’s writerly apartment to restructure my implausible stage directions into something doable, discussing inflection with an attentive actor; I was surprised and moved by the seriousness and vigor which was afforded my work.
On the stage, I observed the difference between my words and their performance, changed by the foreign influence of actors. My detailed, poetic stage directions had to lose their language, had to become visual and actual, rendered in flesh and contour. Theatre entails compromise—between the author and the actor; between the written and the visual. Quite different from the self-contained and thoroughly controlled realm of my usual oeuvre in poetry.
And so while I do not imagine I will become foremost a playwright, acting as one has offered new understanding of dimension and immediacy.
Isaac Schott-Rosenfield, class of 2017