Tanner Curl, head writer on RAPTURE, reflects on Savage Umbrella's most recent project.
I remember the precise moment I first conceived of RAPTURE. It was around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 18, 2010. I was in my bed, my fiancee, Emily, snoozing beside me. As was typical of the time, I was in the midst of doubting myself and just what the hell I was doing--or namely, not doing--with my life. You see, Emily had just closed a run in Savage Umbrella’s THE AWAKENING. Neither of us had worked with the company before, and after going to the closing night party, I was really impressed by the quality of the work and the spirit among the ensemble. It was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to be making, but why, oh, why don’t I have cool friends and maybe I just need to stick my ass in a chair and write, but I always give up, and it’s scary and wahwahwah!!!
The point is, in that moment of existential despair, I wondered if it would feel better knowing whether I was meant to be an artist. What would it be like if there was some kind of objective force that made such a judgement for us? Thus, the concept of RAPTURE was born.
But the real creative energy for the show sparked after the writing team came together. Blake, Lisa, Megan, Seth, and Tim immediately committed themselves to the story and the characters, and piece-by-piece, we started exploring ideas and paths. Without the spirit and talent of these wonderful individuals, I’d still be sitting in front of a blank screen, probably crying, drinking, and singing Celine Dion songs. There are certainly challenges in bringing together the creative sensibilities of six different artists, but in this instance, the fruit and the experience itself were invigorating.
And then, of course, there were the readings. I knew there would be the benefit of hearing the work read by actors. I felt good about the progress we were making, but my fear was the audience reaction: what if everyone else hated it? I imagined post-reading feedback sessions with people ripping apart the work and exposing its flaws, and again cue the crying and the drinking and the Celine Dion.
The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. The thoughtful feedback and conversation were so insightful and truly helped shape and guide the continued development of this play from the first table reads in September and October and culminating in the workshop presentation this past weekend. A big thanks goes to everyone who was able to make it out to the readings. You affirmed Savage Umbrella’s belief that the best thing about making theatre is you.
On a side-note, one week from today is Give to the Max Day, the annual day when Minnesotans translate their desire for a vibrant and compassionate community into action. Last year, our supporters helped propel Savage Umbrella to our most successful season yet by raising over $1,000 for our company with contributions ranging in size from $5 to $250. This year, we’re asking you - our family, friends, and fans - to pledge your support again, when we hope to raise the $1,500 we need for the remainder of our 2012-13 season. You can donate online here.
Of course, it’s not lost on me that the idea for RAPTURE was sparked because I wanted to be a part of Savage Umbrella, and now here I am, two years later, a company member producing a project. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be a part of this talented group of people, and how lucky we are to have such amazing supporters. Thank you for your continued support and belief in the work we create together.
Up next for Savage Umbrella is EMMA AND HARRIET, our take on Jane Austen’s classic novel, Emma (spoiler alert: it will be neither old nor British, but it will be gender-bendingly awesome). Join us in February!