Shaping Our Lives – Brows & Scripts

Shaping Our Lives – Lessons Learned from Eyebrows & Play Scripts

 

“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.”

― Joshua Becker

What do eyebrows have to do with a play script…and more importantly, what do they have to do with you?

I was looking in the mirror the other day and it occurred to me (not for the first time) that I scarcely have any eyebrows left.

I’m not the only who has noticed this. In the summer, a friend (after one too many drinks, mind you) commented that I looked “rather like an egg.” With such candid friends, who need adversaries?

Anyhoo…last week I paid a visit to my hairdresser and she offered to wax my brows.

“NO!” I cried. “I have nothing left to wax. I already look like an EGG!”

“Trust me,” she said.

So I did. A few strips and several plucks later, she leaned back from her handiwork and smiled. “Voila!”

I looked in the mirror and low and behold, I had eyebrows again.

By removing the “peach fuzz” (her words not mine; 14-year-old boys have peach fuzz, not 50-year-old women) from around the actual brow, she’d given shape and clarity to my eyebrows. They were still thin but at least you could SEE them.

Maryanne in Saviour play workshop, Jan 2019

Fast forward a couple of days and I found myself in yet another workshopping of my play script, Saviour, throught the Alberta Playwrights Network. The last time my Big Fat Greek Play Script had been workshopped by professional actors, it was a whopping 143 pages. That bad boy sized script would translate to more than two and a half hours performance-time.

Ugh.

This time around, however, I was heading into the workshop with a 119-page script…better but it still needed a good trim. My goal is to get the script to about 100 pages (which would translate to approximately one hour and forty-five minutes performance time).

Thankfully, this workshop was only 3 hours – versus the 8-hour workshop I had in 2017. This meant that after the actors had read the script out loud, there was limited time left for discussion. So what little discussion we had was very focused and succinct…and therefore extremely helpful to me, the playwright.

L to R: Col Cseke, Kathryn Kerbes & Trevor Rueger in Saviour workshop at APN, Jan 2019

 

Kathryn Kerbes reading the part of Virginia Woolf

 

L to R: Trevor Rueger & Val Lieske reading Saviour at APN, Jan 2019

I left the workshop with a very clear idea of what had to be cut and what sections needed clarification. I went home and, while it was still fresh in my mind, immediately made the rough changes on the actual printed copy of the script. The next morning, I sat down at my computer and started making the changes in the word doc.

And voila! My Pleasantly Plump Play began to shrink even further…and low and behold, the essence of the play emerged.

Just like the brow trimming, it was only by removing the extraneous bits in my script (that I had been unable to see) that my play began to take shape.

My challenge to you (and me) for 2019

What extraneous bits could you trim from your life? Are there any habits, behaviours, attitudes, beliefs, thought-patterns, relationships or activities that you could delete (or at least cut back on) that might help give you more clarity about your purpose?

Just as it can be difficult to see the forest for the trees (or the eyebrows for the peach fuzz), so too can it be difficult to live up to our potential when we are being pulled in a dozen different directions…many of which are likely NOT helping get us where we want to go.

If the shape of your life is not quite as you’d like it, I challenge you to trim a component (or two) that is no longer serving you. And I shall do the same ?

Related blog by Maryanne

Perilous Playwriting – Let’s Air Some Dirty Laundry Shall We? 

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.

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12 thoughts on “Shaping Our Lives – Brows & Scripts”

  1. I was hoping for a before and after of the eyebrows. ?
    Great analogy. I really need to put some thought into that and see how I can work that into my life. ?

  2. Hey Maryanne, what a great story with a really thought-provoking question. This is something that is really quite poignant to me right now as I’ve also been learning the lesson of trimming away the extraneous bits, or perhaps to be a little more specific, the importance of setting boundaries.

    It’s quite amazing just how much time, energy, and focus we can lose by doing things that we feel obliged to do (the extraneous bits) as opposed to doing the things we really want to do…and to get that right balance is all about setting boundaries. I have a feeling that this will be something I’ll be writing about soon.

    Thanks again for your post…it really did hit me at the right time.

    Elliot 🙂

  3. I DO hope you write about boundaries, Elliot! You and I have e-mailed about this very subject matter…and I think it is a very difficult thing for most people to deal with. You hit the nail on the head – if we DON’T set boundaries, our lives can be frittered away doing what everyone else wants us to do. The older I get the more I realize how very precious time is…money is renewable but time is not. We must spend it oh-so-wisely 🙂

    Thanks so much for reading my blogs & providing feedback…I really appreciate that!
    Maryanne

  4. Great post Maryanne and good advice.

    We often need to step back and contemplate what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

    I love your summary, “Are there any habits, behaviours, attitudes, beliefs, thought-patterns, relationships or activities that you could delete (or at least cut back on) that might help give you more clarity about your purpose?”

    I think I can answer yes to all of those and yet I find it difficult to change or delete some of them because change is hard. I think we often know what we need to change in our lives but we don’t do it because there is comfort – even if the habits or beliefs or relationships are bad – in doing what we’ve always done and beliving what we’ve always believed.

    However, as you pointed out, sometimes our inability to move forward is because we clutter our day and our mind with unnecessary things or things that drain us of energy and time. And that can make it hard for us to see with clear eyes our purpose and vision.

    So what to do?

    I think with this being the start of a new decade and a new year – January is the perfect time to trim things from our lives that don’t enrich us and make our lives better.

    Time for a change I suppose.

    Thanks for posting.

    James

  5. Hi James! Wonderful to hear from you and yes, change IS hard! But it is imperative. I was just thinking of you this morning and hope you are doing well. I am in Calgary for a few more weeks and would love to get together for a coffee & playwriting brainstorming session.
    MA

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