Rehearsal notes

Please feel free to comment or ask questions — discussion is welcome.


by Scott Shannon


The First/Last Play

The First/Last Play (former title)

In rehearsal with the following SHADOWS:

Director – TBD

Past Shadows involved in earlier development of this work:

FIRST LAST NOISE! Notes – Dec 19/2017(PM)
As I read through the notes, it’s interesting this piece has gone full cycle from a one-man show > an ensemble piece > one-man show. I was struggling with the initial incarnation beyond my opening idea, but the ensemble version of the play led me in a more solid direction and coupled nicely with some other stuff that all takes place in the same world, while not being pre/sequels, just related stories. I had, in some sense, a full story developed for the ensemble version but unfortunately it just became to hard to get that many folks together for the time I needed – we almost did it in late/early 2014/15 but it never cam together. Nonetheless, that story became the backdrop for a few different pieces I’m developing, and A STORY JONES which we’ve just wrapped up in first complete draft.

First Last NOISE! page2


The nugget of this play began back in 2006, and before I discovered the Daniel MacIvor and his solo work, which Nasty Shadows has since poured a great deal of time into staging in years past. I’m keen to remount one or two of the MacIvor solo shows we did, but I’d like to have my own solo show staged before I go back to Daniel’s work – if anything it’s an incentive for me to focus on my creation so I can then play in MacIvor’s world, which I do so enjoy. So, in some sense I was sidetracked by how amazing MacIvor’s solo plays were, how they stood as whole plays, complete stories, and not simply autobiographical ramblings or stand-up, not that either of those forms can’t be interesting, but I at the time I was tired of them and MacIvor’s work was a breath of fresh air. The solo piece I’m creating takes a cue from MacIvor in so far as I’m making a full play, a complete story, but the world my writing creates isn’t nearly as inviting and awe-inspiring as Daniel’s. I think I’m onto something interesting, and the feel echoes other pieces I’ve developed, including A STORY JONES and THE TABLE EXPERIMENTS, but I lean towards a darker space than MacIvor creates … and I’m certainly not as skilled with words.

The vibe of my plays’ worlds feels more like an attempt at Becket mixed with Shepard, my two Sams, but trying to harness some of the wonder and fun of MacIvor, all while hopefully creating something unique to me … but I’ve spent the past 10-20-30 years reading and re-reading and staging the works of those playwrights, my favourites, so it makes sense to me that what I’m writing feels like them … at least to me.

I’m liking what is happening so I’m working towards sharing it with audiences … hoping to push this work forward over the coming months … Nasty Shadows celebrates 20 YEARS of making theatre in 2018, and I’d love for a new work to hit the stage in celebration of that time.

Also in the beginning stages of a creating a performance piece adapted from a certain playwright’s works … details TBA, but pretty excited about this idea … gonna be working a *new* Nasty collaborator, but an old intimate friend and adventurer …


FIRST LAST NOISE! Notes – Dec/2017

Trying to build a one-man show out of a one-man show that became a multi-part show but has now gravitated back towards a solo piece …


THE FIRST/LAST PLAY Notes – Dec 31/2014(PM)
So once again this piece needs to be put on hold … unfortunately I haven’t got access to the actors I need in order to make a spring production happen … soooooo … moving onto a smaller piece coming from a tiny idea, and we’ll see what myself and a few Shadows can do with that this spring


THE FIRST/LAST PLAY Notes – Dec 10/2014(PM)
And work continues on this play. I’ve got a real good shape to it now, but I’m still flushing out a few angles and broadening some characters. I like what’s happened with this … very different from where I started and what I imagined … actually, this was originally a one-man show that I began working on back in ’05-’06 (before my introduction to MacIvor — this play had already changed into a multi-character piece by then).

Still sorting out logistics for casting for the spring, which means I might need to change plans and try one of the other pieces I’ve got stashed on my hard drive, started and never finished (got a couple with good potential though, I think ) … we’ll see what happens in the coming week and then I’ll have to make a call on what the Shadows will be up to post-Xmas …


THE FIRST/LAST PLAY Notes – August 10/2014(PM)


I had to decide on a title as it was time to start spreading word about our upcoming season, and while I loved the idiosyncratic nature of my original title, I feel the new title better suits the work now as it’s evolved at this point.

I continue to toy with the script, and will hopefully squeeze in a read with the actors in the coming month, but our NEW PLAN is to now stage my show in the spring of 2015 due to some actor availability, and instead we will be revisiting an old favourite of mine this fall … and this return to familiar territory has plenty of new ground to offer in the Shadow of a friend who once played along side me whilst we toiled with that Rougher Magic.


WELCOME TO THIS (or Make That Noise!) Notes – March 9/2014(PM)
A few of us have now met a couple of times, and the session we had earlier today blew open my story for the play in a good way! I now have a focal point, something I think that will centre the various stories around it — this is VERY GOOD! Now, whether anyone else will think so will be open to debate, but I’m stoked for where I can now go with this story … I feel the nugget of the idea was already in that opening I had, so I’m interested to see how it wraps around or up or about …

I just keep focusing on what I feel is one of the best pieces of writing advice, which (of course, if you know me) comes from Mr. David Mamet. In 3 uses of the knife : on the nature and purpose of drama, the thrust of Mamet’s concerns, and in most interviews I’ve read, is that everything in the drama needs to drive towards the goal or aim. This doesn’t mean one draws a bull’s-eye and then writes the story to that mark, although I guess you could, but I’d find that rather dull. Instead, when all is said and done, the well-constructed drama will not have any loose ends — this is a notion rattling in my head which dates back to my first year of university. The well-made play: All My Sons by Arthur Miller was the example Bob used in that first class I took. I guess I’m sort of a traditionalist in that regard, that I think everything in the play should be working towards the truth of the play or the thrust of the story; like a Seinfeld episode. There is no waste as everything in Seinfeld, the lines, props, setting, are used to build towards the minor punchlines throughout the show, which in turn all build to the overall punchline of the episode. I like something that is well-crafted. Sometimes, depending on the art, that craft can be the result of more natural talent, but mostly honing of skills and developing one’s craft is needed to truly push the art to excel. I don’t go much for raw unfocused expression unless it truly grabs you, but often I find it’s an excuse for being lazy. Most artists or musicians I admire have said something along those lines, and then after you have mastered the craft you are in the position to start forgetting and breaking some of those “rules” you learned. You have to work to create, and for me a big part of that is that the entire work is cohesive within itself; no line or action can be extraneous. Everything needs to be vital, or why is it there …


WELCOME TO THIS (or Make That Noise!) Notes – Dec 31/2013(PM)
Hiatus has been lifted as I actively begin work again on a play I’ve had kicking around since 2006 … hoping this coming year yields better results for me, and in turn creates a unique and exciting show for the Shadows.

Very pleased with the opening 3-4 pages, but after that I’m not so happy … I’m aimlessly shooting around for what I think should be the drive of the story, but I’ve got too many ideas about what that could/should be at this point, so I need to focus down on where this story wants to go, not where I might necessarily want it to go … I mean, sure, I’m driving but the roads only go in certain directions so I need to follow those paths for this to really work.


  1. The SJ performance was, in its Tempest way, spell-binding. The actors were all on top of their game, and the play is just so energetic, so frenetic, so chock-a-block with variety. The word that comes to mind for my reaction was “wonder”–and not just “I wonder what the hell is going on,” but being full of wonderment. Thoroughly enjoyable. I hope you get a good, responsive crowd out this Friday.

  2. Thanks for your continued support of our work in SJ, Sandra! Always great to see you out there and we appreciate you spreading the word about the show … and for me the “nerves” issue is not something that overcomes me at the time of performance (knocking on wood right now), but more in contemplation afterwards … “I got up there, and did what? Oh, man … never again!” That feeling has kept me off stage for quite lengthy spells in the past … like years …

  3. Very much looking forward to the production in SJ (I’ll be there on the 28th). I’ve recommended that two of my classes see it. (I’m going to mention your ‘nerves’ issue to my performance class, who are having their own panics at present!)

  4. Rebekah Chasse

    I can’t wait to see The Table Experiments. I love the idea of “from the ground up” creation like this.

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