Can You Hear the Love? by Matt Tawney
When STP asked me to write a few words about my entry (process, motivation, ideas, etc.), I hesitated. I do not consider myself a writer nor a playwright. I am a Sales Director. That is my profession. I am trained and train others to sell things. Bearing that in mind I think I will now sell you (and myself) on the idea that I am a playwright.
In the debut season of this competition I was cast as an actor in a dramatic role with Rachel Gleason, a wonderful actress. During that time I said to myself…. “I could do this. I could write one of these plays.” Throughout the next year I bounced a few ideas off Sue Bradford (my stage mentor and oft time director). When my play was selected as a winning entry she asked to direct it. It was such a good experience I decided to do it again this year.
My process? Nothing profound, really. I pick something from my life and write about it. I do my best to write with a natural rhythm for the sake of the actors, having been on the other side of a script. I know I must have a distinctive style of humor as the director commented on all the “Matt jokes” in my entry. I also write with particular people in mind (actors or actual characters in my life)
In this years entry I had the bulk of the play written with a plot that was little more than witty banter between mother and daughter. Not enough. In my spare time I have begun learning the basics of a language for which my daughter is a translator and my future son-in-law speaks exclusively. It seemed natural to incorporate that into the script to give it some depth. Still, I felt it needed a theme or central statement. That came around in a conversation I had with my Dad. For the last 4+ years of my Mom’s life she was a paraplegic with limited upper body use who was confined to a wheelchair, needing constant care. I recently thanked my dad for the work and effort he put in to her care to which he replied with something to the effect, “I don’t really remember it as being hard work. It was just something we did together everyday”. I paraphrased it in my submission for my Mother - Daughter team.
Some people wait years to hear a parent or a grown child say the words “I love you”. Make sure you say it often, even if the person to whom you say it doesn't seem to hear you…...
Sue Bradford directs Matt's piece again this year, with cast members Amanda Heeren, Lori Jacobs and Nancy Dodge. Join us February 28 - March 1 at the Dog Story Theater!