by Carole Vasta Folley, Vermont Artists’ Space Grant
Carole Vasta Folley of Essex Junction is the newest recipient of the Vermont Artists’ Space Grant. During the 10-week creation process, Carole works to develop a work-in-progress theeater piece that premieres on Saturday, May 30 in FlynnSpace. Apply now to be considered for the next Vermont Artists’ Space Grant.
When I made the choice to be IN my new play, The Seymour Sisters, let’s face it, it was before workshopping, editing, and rehearsing. It was when the project was a glimmer of an idea. Now that I am deep into the process as part of the Artists’ Space Grant, here’s what’s on my mind lately: What the hell was I thinking?
To be fair, I’ve done this before. In 2008, I wrote, directed, and originated the leading role of Millie in my play, Pronouncing Glenn. It was a big step to take, one I’m not sorry I did. I loved playing Millie, working with the other cast members, and being part of the process. But I do remember rethinking that choice as it is crazy-making wearing so many hats, let alone there are not enough hours in the day to get it all done. One minute I’m directing a scene, the next I’m an actor contemplating motivation, and the next, I’m rewriting the very line I as an actor just learned. But like a mother who forgets the pain of childbirth when deciding to have a second child, I jumped into The Seymour Sisters, heart first.
I don’t doubt I am a stronger director when not in the piece I’m directing. I’d guess that would be true for most. One does not have the same perspective when you’re not only juggling your character, but maybe have an unconscious allegiance to that character. I’ve examined this for myself and I don’t think that’s the case in The Seymour Sisters as I would have been happy to play either sister, and in fact was planning to play the opposite role . . . but who knows what’s going on down in the depths of our psyches.
Here’s the thing about this workshop process, being IN the piece has made the experience much more rich and fertile in exploration and development. As a writer, I feel every damn word I write, no matter the character. But having this opportunity to feel them again as an actor—to try them on, manipulate them, play with them, challenge them—has been extraordinary.