Friday, March 8, 2013

Visceral Research and Good Fortune -- By BG Thomas

So I am attempting to write a novel in record time and so far it is cooperating, thank goodness. A good deal of it takes place around the theater. I used to hang out a lot with actors and directors and stuff, and had experience to draw from. However, it has been a long time...
Then the Universe just lined Itself up with me again! My dear friend Curtis Smith, an actor, out of the blue asks me to come see him in his new play at The Living Room. I was so excited by the idea, however with being out of work for two months with my knee surgery and then a whole month of slowly being eased back into the work force (this will be my first full time week in three months!) I didn't have the cash. So what does he do? He gives me his comp ticket!
So I go see Sam Shepard's "Fool for Love." Powerful and dark play, every intimate theater situation where you feel you are almost on the stage, and just the kind of play I imagine my characters involved in! THEN! Then I get to hang out and party with everyone after. There I am in the basement with all these actors, directors, playwrights, and producers! I am asking questions and everyone is sharing with me about their lives and why they do what they do! I was loving it!
THEN a lady turns out to be the producing artistic director of The Unicorn Theater, the theater I was patterning my story theater after. She tells me I can come down a get a tour! And I am doing that today! Sorry about all the !!! but I am excited.
To me, this is the best best best kind of research. I think of it as Visceral Research. It is one thing to read bout a subject, but when you can experience it, touch it, smell it, hear it, feel it, ride it, it becomes so much more with so much material to place into the story.
I went horseback riding before writing "Trust Me," my dude ranch novella and spent a short weekend on a friend's small ranch when writing my story "The Real Thing" for the anthology "Riding Double." It was amazing how many people thought I'd rode horses for years when they read those stories. No. Exhilarating. Showing me how all that work was worth it.
 And now to immerse myself in the theater! I just have to be careful that I don't do so much research that I have time to write the fripping book!
Hugs and Love to you you all!

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