Some years ago, during my days in London, while I was working and studying with the very talented yet mischievous Bernard Kops, I wrote a comedy play for stage. I had re-written the piece, edited and had a mini performance of it under the super sharp eyes of my mentor, Mr. Kops. He laughed at my outrageous story, my totally insane characters and the entirely unsorted ending. His advice was to go back to the drawing board and develop it. He was right. It wasn’t ready, it wasn’t finished and it was messy in several places.
The thing was, I had a team of actors, set designers and a musician ready to take the show up onto stage! They believed in me, in the crazy story and thought that their individual talents could pull the whole thing together. And, I believed in them.
-The best kind of leader: one who creates independence, not dependence – Gloria Steinem
As I was producing the play (which meant financing it!) rehearsals took place in my house. I also provided cafe and snacks and many other happiness enhancing vitamins and products! The right people began to fill up the roles of director, an assistant director (even) 5 actresses, stage manager. It was unbelievable! All I had to do was secure the venue, design and print flyers, give money to the set and costume designer…(yes that’s all!) It was fantastic, it was all coming together. Then, the cracks and questions began to appear. The directors’ bike disappeared or was stolen which meant she had no transport and resigned! My most experienced actress stepped out, the role was upsetting her.
Oh, I didn’t tell you what it was all about. Three vampire sisters that organise a trip to Transylvania because they want to find love and have babies! I mean can vampires have kids? Can vampires travel? Have they passports? None of this occurred to me!
My new director was brilliant but strict and tough. He drove two of my fine and funny actresses to tears, he wanted to change the script, he didn’t like the music. I nearly went out and hired a Gangsta! It was getting very stressful.
But hey! the Show always goes on! So, with enormous discipline, consistency and persistency – key ingredients by the way – and a whole heap of love and support from special people, came the debut, my show Happened!
The Virtual Vixens Theatre Company, proudly presents: Blood Sisters, written & produced by Georgia Varjas.
The stress never went away and I ended up taking on the role of “Becky” one of the sisters on the rampage. And a thousand other bit parts.
After the first Saturday, (which was a sell out and received good laughs) an actress and a budding playwright, approached me.
“OMG, how could you? That was the worst…I’ve never heard of anything so …aren’t you embarrassed, ashamed..regretful? ”
She was angry, kind of spitting style.
And I was so tired and happy. As my old granny described perfectly when things were good. ‘Fuck me old boots, I done it!’
I looked at this fellow artist, writer and creator of entertainment and said with a kind smile. “Thank you, and thanks for coming, I appreciate all feedback. It’s been a fantastic journey and I have learned so much you know.”
Wow, talk about Hot Words and Cool Looks ! And that’s exactly what I did. I disarmed my critic with the beautiful power of language.
-Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn – Harriet Beecher Stowe
The moral of the tale my friends is to enjoy each moment, each day. A little stress to buzz you but not to drown you. And then, do your very best to interpret criticism as feedback. The opinion of this woman was her point of view. She didn’t like the play, she was shocked that I put on a play, that I had the audacity to mount a production, work like a maniac for four months and break even!
The journey, the experience, the learning and wisdom I gained could never be found in a book. Everything that I discovered, ingested and digested came from my action and effort, and the crazy and tenacious team around me.
This weeks FB Live will be coming from Swanky London.
I will be checking in to hear How you Disarm your critics? How do you handle the sharp or non-productive comments that fly in your face online or up personal off line? I will also share with you some more tales and stories, to illustrate the effective ingredients you can use To disarm the critics. Video will be posted here on Friday.