So. Much. Work.
Get caught up on what I'm working on this week.
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Today is my first real letter. Letter? Try again, Wargo.
“Newsletter”, while factually accurate, sounds awfully corporate.
“Post.” That’s the word. Today is my first real post on this new platform. Huzzah! Let’s get down to it:
DOING THE WORK
Well. It has certainly been a week here in WargoWorld. Good news, frustrating news, no news. Artists really are just like us! Before getting too into the weeds, and as a matter of introduction, let me get you all caught up on the projects I’m currently fiddling with in some phase of development:
BEYOND THE VEIL
I wrote this play in two weeks in the late winter of 2021. I had been kicking around the idea of writing a seance play for over a decade1. Blair2 suggested, for our Spring 2021 outdoor audio theater festival3, that I ought to write something spooky, because I’m kind of good at it and I really like scary stuff.
I had, two weeks earlier, lost my oldest brother, Matthew, to Covid. What the Muse brought to me in the white heat of my pain was a frightening meditation on grief and the desperation that comes with it and the ghosts that everyone gains.
Nine months later, my Mom died of motherfucking cancer. I’ve revised the script, which originally centered on the loss of a child, to expand and include the loss of a parent. I’m very, very happy with it.
We’re aiming to do an immersive, Resounding-style reading and industry presentation in June. We’re currently hustling to find a space, which (SPOILER ALERT) is a hell of a lot harder to do in 2023 than it was in 2019. We have some promising leads that I hope will pan out even more in the coming week. Stay tuned and send appropriate vibes our way!
CHARLES DICKENS’ “A CHRISTMAS CAROL”
My joy, my sorrow, my calling card for over twenty years4, my and Dianne Adams McDowell’s near perfect5 adaptation got some potential Very Good News this week. I can’t say much more than that now and here, but once again, building and maintaining a general air of hope and good juju can’t hurt.
THE FEAST OF COUNT DRACULA
Springboarding off of our successful launch of Resounding with a Halloween 2020 live broadcast of “Dracula” starring the great Norm Lewis, I’ve done a deeper dive into the text and am now collaborating with composer Larry Chang to reimagine the piece as a decadent immersive dinner where feasting of all kinds occurs.
Larry wrote another brilliant string movement this week for the final moments of despair from Jonathan Harker as he resigns himself to his fate at Castle Dracula. Awesome, creepy stuff!
The Big One. The ginormous whale6 of an immersive piece of theatrical storytelling that I’ve had in the slow cooker of my mind for almost four years. Multiple environments, multiple plot arcs and character threads, three plays happening simultaneously in one cohesive narrative.
I’m not sure anyone thinks I’m sane to create this thing, let alone build it. But it’s been living on my bedroom wall at two different apartments now and, honestly, I want my wall back. And it’s time. The world is ready to make the leap to wide enthusiasm for this kind of entertainment.
The outline is nearly finished. I made some serious headway this week defining the arcs of the secondary characters in the piece and where, when, and how they interact and help or hinder the principals. One more character arc to hammer out, and then the storytelling can begin. I think that the rubber can hit the road this week. Stay tuned!
AND THAT’S IT
Lawdy, I’ve hit my word count. Next week, for sure, pinky-swear, I’ll begin my dive into Cal Newport’s “Deep Work”. (affiliate link)
Please feel free to comment and share!
Til then, let’s all buckle down and keep doing the work.
I recently found notes for one of the eventual characters along with some dialogue dated to 2008, which makes it probably among my first digital notes
my esteemed partner with Resounding
More on this as the anniversary approaches
I say “near” because I’ve never stopped fiddling with it. I constantly strive to make it “more perfect.”
FTR: It has nothing to do with whales. Wolves, yes, all night long, but not whales.