I’m not sure this is true for everyone, but for me, there comes a point when I’m writing a play, usually around the 3rd or 4th draft, when it becomes like gibberish. Like when you say a word again and again and eventually it has no meaning. I like to think of it as “soup brain.” For the past few weeks I’ve been trying like mad to get a new draft of a play done and to give it a title. This title, for this play has been one of the most frustrating experiences of my playwriting life. With all my other works there came a point, typically by the second draft, when a title clicked and it could be called nothing else. Always. Except now. And so this play has become a royal pain in the behind.
Lucky for me, I have some amazing collaborators in my life. I’ve had quite a few folks ping titles back and forth with me. And even better, I’ve had a few folks read the play. And one of those generous folks asked me a question which completely broke open the second act for me, just like magic. AND even better than that, from the conversation we had around act two, I think I have a title! Hope like hell for me that this one sticks.
I know not everybody works like I do, but I think it’s helpful, since theater itself is such a collaborative medium, to remember that when you’re stuck you can ask for help. And now I must go, I have the second half of a play to rewrite.