“White people won’t produce it,” one person said.
“Hey, man, these dudes are cussing,” another person said.
This is what folks said after reading a few pages of my first play “Blades”. Black characters called white people “crackers” and “peckerwoods”. Plus it contained plenty of profanity. Naysayers kept saying people wouldn’t produce it.
Originally, one guy already agreed to produce and direct it. Yet, he bowed out.
I continued writing and rewriting. Also, I sometimes would drive by local theaters. As I drove by, I imagined “Blades” being advertised on the theater’s sign.
Still, I had no freaking idea how the play was going to gain production. Truth be known, I didn’t know a damned thing about theater. The plays I acted in weren’t really by an established theater group. They were plays written and produced by a local playwright, the same guy who bowed out on me.
Local playwright Bobbie Bell read one of the earlier drafts. Then, he wrote notes and tips on how a play works.
More rewrites came. Another version of “Blades” was read during a playwrights’ circle. Some of the dudes from my neighborhood read characters for me. Also, some of the people at the playwright’s group read for me also. At this meeting, “Blades” was well received.
What was “Blades” about? By this time, “Blades” was about two African-American males living in a juvenile prison. One guy was from the hood. The other was from the suburbs. A gay inmate was killed in the shower room. Who did it? Well, we find out at the end.
By this time, I was reading poetry at Sak Theater’s Bohemian Nights, a weekly open-mic event. There I met local agent Vickie Roussman.
One night, me and two other black guys performed at Bohemian nights. I think the other two guys sung. Who was one of those guys? The now famous television personality Wayne Brady.
Vicki suggested all three of us get together. That’s when I brought up “Blades”. Vickie told me she wanted a copy.
When I started writing plays, I started typing my full name on manuscripts. I thought nothing of it at the time. So, when someone asked was I Patrick Scott Barnes, it took me a moment to realize who the fuck were they talking about.
“Blades” soon received a professional staged reading. John Didonna directed it.
As for the guy who bowed out on me in the beginning? He read the main character for me.
Months later, Theater Downtown produced “Blades”.
When someone said white people wouldn’t produce it, they were wrong. Another thing, just like with the first stage reading, a white guy directed “Blades”. Dude’s name was Tim Bass.
Despite naysayers and setbacks, I continued writing and rewriting “Blades”. I followed my intuition and envisioned the play already being produced.
Don’t fucking listen to naysayers. The only thing they’re good at is shooting down possibilities. If your intuition tells you different about a project, go for it. If I had listened to naysayers, “Blades” wouldn’t have been produced.