Just Putting This Out There

December 04, 2013

The Upstairs process generated more publicity, crowds, and criticism than I'd ever experienced.It was a little overwhelming. I was surprised by the depth and nature of my own reaction to both criticism and praise, and I withdrew a bit from all of that intensity. After all, it was a long period of engagement. The questions had started from project's earliest announcement, and they never stopped. Was Upstairs: the Musical a good idea? Some said no; I said yes. Was Upstairs: the Musical a good thing to do? Absolutely. It wrought good things. It a worthy pursuit.But was Upstairs: the Musical good?

Almost everyone said it was very, very good indeed. But a few critics said it wasn't. Away from the emotion, the hype, the intensity of the specific time, place, and purpose of the production, were they right? Months later, I went and took a look at the tape. And my answer?

In a sense, it's not for me to say. My job is just putting it out there, and that's what I somehow managed, with a lot of help, to do. Theatre is an inherently limited medium, and of course the play would look different on a different budget, timeline, and stage. So, sure, there are a few things I would change, but the book and music are almost exactly what I intended them to be.

In fact, six months after the fact, I am immensely proud of this work. It expresses what I wanted to express in the way I wanted it expressed, and with talented and dedicated artists doing the expressing. And that's a very good thing, indeed.

So, yeah. It's good. It's quite good. And I want you to see it. So I'm putting it out there. Please give it a viewing.

And while I'm at it, I'm putting more out there, too. Wise Up! was my first musical. It a farcical queer Christmas fable that retells the Christmas story in modern-day Shreveport, LA through the eyes of three drag performers named Gold, Frank N. Sense, and Myrrh. An amateur production was mounted at MCCSF years ago and someone filmed it from the back. There are things I will change if it's ever produced again, but not many. It's hilarious. I promise that you will laugh. You may also learn. Perhaps you'll even cry.

Cadillac is still in workshop form. It's rustic, raw, and deeply personal. Anyone who knows me will recognize some autobiographical facets to the story. Putting this one out there is an act of love for those who experienced the autobiographical parts alongside me. There are many things that will change if this one gets produced, but this workshop form retains a raw power that is worthwhile to experience for yourself.

Finally, I'm putting my ambitions out there for all of you to see. I want to see these stories told. That's the purpose of my new website, waynself.com, my new Facebook page, and my new focus. I want them produced at your local theatre, your local church, you local community center. I want you to take these stories into your hearts, but I also want you to take them to your friends. Your theatre friends. Your producer friends.

Filming live theatre is fraught with danger. Posting it is, too. Putting all of this work into this setting in this format is an act of faith and hope. Please watch. And, if you see their potential, please help me bring these plays back to the stage, where they belong.

You probably know someone who can help. Just putting it out there.

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