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.
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.
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.
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 ?
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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.