I am a playwright who can’t even type! Yet, I wrote a full length play. It’s a really awesome musical with song lyrics written by other nonspeakers, as well as the two I wrote. It sounds unbelievable, but all it took was 2 years of hard work and people who believe I am capable, and destined for something great.
The process required hundreds of hours of spelling, one letter at a time. I won’t bore my lovely readers with actual details on spelling. Really, it’s irrelevant if an open speller is using a stencil, laminate, or keyboard. What means they use to reach their goals is nothing compared with the fact that they can reach those goals.
I never set out to be a playwright, but was given the gift of a short assignment last year- to write a 15 minute play on the subject of gaslighting in the disability community. Recovering from Covid meant loads of time to think and write. My first play, Words Unheard, opened the door to a passion unknown. After that, I was hooked.
I was involved in all aspects of my second play, Love Letters, A True-ly Short Epistolary Romance- from writing stage directions to educating actors about my disability to consulting with the sound designer. What does sensory overload taste like, feel like, sound like? I wanted the audience right there with my characters, so I kept giving feedback until every detail was just as I imagined. I was still surprised to see how it all fit. Watching the dress rehearsal took my breath away. It’s really such an amazing feeling to hear my words come to life. I have heard my poetry read and sung, but a play is even more exciting because I mixed my words into five characters. Each actor flavored their role in a unique and rich way. It’s like looking at a food magazine and you think it looks yummy, but you are still unprepared for the exquisite taste of the dish when you make it.
This is fiction, but my protagonist is obviously based on someone I know well. I have heard the saying about pissing off an author and they put you in their novel. Is any character truly unique? I have an amazing imagination and I live surrounded by interesting people so it’s easy to take a bit of this and a bit of that to craft a character. After that, they are alive and able to grow. Writing is cathartic so I was motivated to do this work, to put things back in a better place.
The first version was a much longer book. When I joined a new theater group last autumn, I converted it into a regular play. When my life partner and I wrote the song Something Lost Was Found, it seemed fitting to include it, so from there we sought other songs to compliment the scenes. Having a mentor was key for editing and helping me trim or add more when things were not clear to others. I don’t mean to give any spoilers, but I always write a really strong ending for myself.
I’m not done writing plays, but it’s such a long and slow process, exacerbated by my physical limitations. I think a rest and reset will do me good. I’ll allow some time for poetry and gathering ingredients to mix up something new and untasted.
Coming soon- On-line premiere of Love Letters, A True-ly Short Epistolary Romance, a musical play by Sofia Ghassaei with original lyrics by Nonspeakers! Lyricist panel to follow the play.
Sunday, September 10, 2023, 3 PM Pacific/6 PM Eastern
Join the livestream on the Theater of Possibility YouTube- https://tinyurl.com/
Sofi is a Poet, playwright, logodaedalist and a rain girl from the Pacific Northwest.