Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Drink With My Doppelganger @ SF Theater Pub Blog

I was drafting a piece for SF Theater Pub tonight when I realized I'd never posted a link to my Theater Pub column of two weeks ago.

This one was "Chestnut Tea with the Other Me" – a reaction to a Theater Pub blog post that local playwright Peter Hsieh had written earlier that week. Peter had imagined taking "Other Peter" out for drinks and discussing playwriting, and he made some good points, but the whole thing was overlaid with an exaggeratedly macho attitude that rubbed me the wrong way. I decided to air my objections in a playful way by imagining a conversation between me and "Other Marissa" about Peter's piece.

Marissa is on the left; Other Marissa is on the right.
It was a fun piece to write! (and represents the most sustained piece of playwriting, or at least dialogue-writing, that I've done in several months.) I tried to characterize Other Marissa as the person I wish I was, while the "original" Marissa is me in all my neuroses. Other Marissa is a little blunter and sassier than I am; she's also compassionate when the original Marissa has a bit of an anxiety attack. I'd like to be that way. I'd like to be honest but compassionate with myself.

I had drinks with an arts-writer friend at House of Shields last night after work and couldn't help thinking about this Theater Pub column. (It didn't hurt that House of Shields is just across the street from the Palace Hotel and that I'd ordered a gin gimlet.) Conversations with friends are even livelier and better than conversations with your imaginary doppelganger; for one thing, the talk, and the drinks, are real.