My 20-Year-Old New Play by Scott C. Sickles

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imageScott C. Sickles is the playwright of SHEPHERD’S BUSH, which is being featured in Gulfshore Playhouse’s 2nd Annual New Works Festival. Scott’s plays have been performed across the United States, as well as internationally in Canada, Australia, the UK, Singapore and Lebanon. Sickles has received multiple Emmy and WGA Award nominations as a part of the writing team for ONE LIFE TO LIVE and GENERAL HOSPITAL. A staged reading of SHEPHERD’S BUSH will be performed on Sunday September 7, 2014 at 3:00pm. 
 
I thought I was done.
 
I thought, “Stick a fork in it. It’s solid. It’s fully baked. This play has had reading after reading after reading. The response has been terrific. It’s ready to go.”
 
I thought this in 1999.
 
Shepherd’s Bush has been a labor of love. The first draft was completed in the spring of 1995, nearly 20 years ago. It eventually landed me an agent and had a professional director attached to it, along with Broadway luminary Brian Murray committed to play E. M. Forster when it was produced.
 
That production never happened, nor has any other.
 
Instead the piece was soundly rejected by all the best theaters in the country (not to mention several others…). Whatever audiences were responding to, producers were not. Since it’s rare that any theater rereads a play after they’ve rejected it, even if there’s a new draft, that appeared to be that.
 
I would have to wait for everyone who rejected the play to retire or die.
 
I put Shepherd’s Bush away for a very long time… until I saw the call to submit for this festival!
 
I didn’t want to submit it. Because it was done. 
While no play is perfect, I thought I it was as good as I was going to be able to make it. I didn’t want to work on it anymore.
 
Then I thought… 
I don’t want to be One of Those Playwrights I Hate who thinks their play is done and doesn’t want to work on it anymore!
 
So I came to terms with the real reason I didn’t want to submit it: I was afraid to stick a fork in it again and find it still gooey inside, that it needed some more baking, or that parts that used to be fresh were now stale.
 
So here we are… and here I am.
 
I’ve spent the week with talented, insightful actors who question and challenge me in the best ways.
My director Kristen Coury has enabled me to examine the play through her fresh and sharp perspective so I could see anew what was there, what should stay, what should go, and what could still be explored.
 
Twenty years later. Damn near, anyway.
 
I’ve gotten to re-immerse myself into a world I love and missed, to refine and rewrite, to make the play better than it was when I thought it was as good as it would get.
 
Who knows? If all goes well, maybe I’ll send the play around again. 
Besides, I’m sure everyone who rejected it before is finally retired or dead.
 
If they are, I swear I had nothing to do with it. 😉

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