Taking the Plunge

Happy Friday the 13th! I’m Madeline Bunke, a senior Theatre Arts and English major with a Spanish minor from Brookfield, WI. I am also an aficionado of Björklunden food. Here is a picture of me when I found out that in visiting the local high school I had missed Steve Martin’s (yes, that’s our chef’s name) clam chowder:

Such sadness

Such sadness

Last night was an exhilarating evening for everyone here at Greyfell Theatre Company. Opening night is always a satisfying experience, but this was fulfilling in a new way. I’ve been fortunate enough to act in several productions at Lawrence, but this is the first time I have ever written a play. It was not an easy process – my roommates can attest to the horrible case of writer’s block I suffered on the first night. I managed to turn my problem into my inspiration, however, and began writing a play about two ad men struggling to come up with a slogan…for toilet plungers. (I’m coming around to potty humor about 10 years too late.)

It was an honor to have my play selected by my peers, particularly as there were so many great choices. Watching my characters, who had so quickly become so dear to me, come to life was an amazing process. I had to balance revisions from our literary manager and let go of how I originally pictured the blocking while still working to maintain the spirit of my creation. I am greatly indebted to director Portia and actors Erik and Brian for their detailed, dedicated, and good-humored work. Sitting backstage listening to your play being performed is quite different from normal actor nerves. In some ways, I felt much more pressure. If a joke fell flat, I felt like it would be fundamentally my fault for writing a weird line. I am slowly learning to free myself from over-analyzing and focus instead on the overwhelming positive.

 

 My baby is born! Erik and Brian in last night’s performance of Down the Drain.

 My baby is born! Erik and Brian in last night’s performance of Down the Drain.

Actually, I feel like that’s what the Greyfell experience has been all about – approaching new, potentially scary tasks with an active positivity. From leading workshops with high schools students to memorizing my lines for Tick-Tock on an extremely tight schedule to Björklunden “opportunities” themselves, activities that once made me nervous have transformed into activities that make me excited. We at Greyfell have thrown ourselves into making this newborn theatre company the biggest success it could be, and our passion has given us tenfold returns.

Phillip and I in Claire Conard’s Tick-Tock

Phillip and I in Claire Conard’s Tick-Tock