Comedy vs. Drama
Many moons ago, when I was working on the first draft of The Fantasy Club, I sent it off to my best friends to read. He’s an actor, she’s a painter… They’re married and it’s adorable, but more importantly, I value their opinions a great deal. So after I had a draft of my very first play, they were the first people I sent it to. I’m not sure if there’s a feeling that makes you want to puke more… Hearing feedback on something you love so much for the first time… Anyway, I plunged ahead and asked them what they thought of it… And, surprisingly they loved it. “It’s hilarious!” they both told me. “Couldn’t stop laughing.”
“No, it’s not a comedy. It’s a drama,” is what I said back. Because in my mind it was a very serious play. Now, there are those of you who’ve seen it at staged readings, and a bunch more of you who get to watch it this coming August, so you’ll all see how ridiculous this notion of mine was. But in my heart of hearts, I thought it was a drama. That’s when I found out that the opposite of what people say is true… Comedy isn’t what’s hard, drama is.
After some long nights, I decided to go the direction the play was obviously taking me (thank goodness) and dive into making it a full on comedy…
Flash forward to now… I was up in Sonoma over the weekend hearing a staged reading of my ten-minute play Horny Like The Wolf (yes, another comedy!) and it struck me how much people responded to the dramas of the evening. They struck a cord in them, one was about breast cancer, another about being reunited with an estranged child… In my mind I thought that the dramas had an edge on the comedies, and maybe they always do. But it was after this show when I was going over the show with my husband that it struck me… None of my plays are dramas. Not one.
Maybe my play about Achilles is my closest, I mean overall it’s a tragedy, so that’s serious, but there is a lot of comedy along the way. And all of my other work is completely in the comedy lane. Like, 100%, not even trying to be dramatic.
I think dramas are hard for me because I don’t want to write a play about cancer, or a child dying, or some huge crushing issue that people are forced to deal with… Maybe because I deflect all the serious things in my life with humor… I will say that it is now on my to-do list to write a completely dramatic something… Maybe I’ll start with a ten-minute and work my way up.
So at the end of the day, drama is what is hard for me, not comedy. What about you?