This project came out of one of the more challenging prompts from my Advanced Dramatic Writing class at Portland State:

Put no more than four characters in one of the following settings (note the theme here: small spaces): a closet, restaurant booth, bathroom, cockpit, confessional, elevator, hunting blind, cave, submarine, office cubicle, ferris wheel, tunnel, jail cell, bed, … you get the idea. The scene must additionally contain the following ingredients: A blind date, 3 days without sleep, a phobia, and a man covered in tattoos.

Stage reading of The Long Blink, performed (L-to-R) by Nick Nolan, Taryn Judah, Madison Shanley, and Drew Pierce. Filmed by Jerry Rous.

The cool thing is: the more limiting a prompt is, the easier it seems to be to come up with ideas for it. I suppose this is because when you’re asked to “write something,” the entire universe of possibilities rushes in and you end up staring at a blank page too small to fit anything that comes to mind. But with limitation comes innovation!

For some reason this prompt wasn’t enough punishment, so I added a couple of limitations of my own:

  • I would try to use most, if not all of the settings given, and
  • I would do so without any narration–it would all be in the dialogue.

The class really rocked this prompt. The best part was the collaboration: the writers were teamed up with other students who would take on the roles of director and voice actors, so we could see and hear how the piece works for an audience. During rehearsals these collaborators helped workshop the piece from their perspective, as director, actors, as well as a volunteer dramaturge (someone who makes sure the piece holds together in its own universe).

This collaboration not only helped me craft the work so that the story in my head actually made it to the audience, but to find amazing connections, ideas and perspective from the mouths of my own characters, told through the people acting them out. It’s an amazing thing to be a part of. I am humbled by how much this improved what I started with.

As a mid-term project, we had our scripts read on stage in front of an audience–and a video camera. Although it would have been awesome to see it acted out, there were too many constantly evolving scripts and too little time to block, act and memorize them all. But as voice actors, these performers made this silly story truly come to life for me.

It is still a work in progress, of course (especially the new ending), but we had a lot of fun getting it this far. I hope you enjoyed it.

Hopefully more soon!! ^_^

5 Comments

  1. OMG, I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time. That was hilarious girl. You got some talent going on there!

    1. Author

      Awww, thanks, Re. ^_^ That was a lot of fun to do . . . but I wasn’t sure it was funny at all until these guys put so much personality into it. =)

      1. The actors were great, and loved the clever ‘blink’ transitions. You did it!

  2. Who is that weirdo wearing braids with the squeaky voice? Oh wait… that’s me 😉 This is actually pretty awesome. It looks great! It was such a fun piece to work on.

    1. Author

      You sound wonderful, Taryn (I don’t like my voice either). You guys really made that goofy script way more awesome and fun than I thought it ever would be. Thanks for that. ^_^ I just wish the class didn’t have to end–I want to do this morerer.

Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel reply