I’m thinking about doing a reading of my play in my living room before I submit it to a million theater companies. I’ve been feeling unsure about how ready it is to be sent to these big deal places and whether it’s up to their standard. So I’m thinking about having three friends (plus my hubby) come over and read the parts and give me their feedback.

I’ve done this a few times in the past with other scripts, and it’s certainly fun, and a good opportunity to have friends over and engage in a creative activity together. But is it really useful for improving my script?

I went to see a workshop of a new play a few nights ago that my friend directed. They performed only the first half, and then asked the entire audience (probably about 100 people) to write comments on notecards. So what if they see my comment about how the monster’s sudden appearance didn’t make sense? Do they ignore it unless they see someone else make the same comment? What if someone else said that they thought the characters were unsympathetic? Do they get irritated and say, “what’s wrong with this person that they didn’t see the agony in whats-her-face’s relationship with whats-his-face?”

If I have four people sit in my living room and read my play, how do I know which comments to take seriously and implement, and which to pass off as a single, unique opinion? Additionally, in a sit-down reading, the actors/opinion-givers don’t get the full picture of the play, as they don’t see that two of the people are on the balcony while the other two are on the sofa and one guy keeps getting up to get refills on his Scotch (granted, it’s in the stage direction, but the lack of visual can really affect their perception.)

If my friend tells me that she didn’t like the end, do I wait until I get one more person to side with her, do I take her comment and run with it, or do I smile and say “thank you” and then do nothing with it?

This is a good reason to have smart friends. Note: don’t invite your dumb-ass friends to read in your play reading.