Q. Do you know who I am?
A. Yes. You are a part of me.
Q. Why have you summoned me?
A. Quick, spot-check tuneup. I know, I know — it’s Thursday, not Tuesday. I’m two days late.
Q. Why so late?
A. Exhaustion. Sleeping round the clock ever since July 4th, for eight days barely fitting in all the things I’m supposed to be doing in this world.
Q. What happened on July 4th?
Q. Independence from what?
A. From Eden in Babylon.
Q. You were — enslaved by Eden in Babylon?
A. I was indeed. Enslaved by my own work.
Q. And now you are free?
A. In a very real sense, yes. I need no longer belabor this script. It’s as good as it needs to be, in order for me to submit it.
Q. Don’t you need the demo in order to submit it?
A. The demo is on its way. The pieces for the final mix are coming in. Listen to this one, the first one — you gotta admit it’s not bad:
Q. Who’s the singer?
A. Her name’s Erika. Very good singer, classically trained with a degree in Voice, and having musical theatre experience. Obviously, she put her whole heart into it. I acknowledge her in full, along with the sound engineer, on the credits.
Q. But don’t you need more than one song on the demo?
A. They’re on their way. I’ve heard drafts of the mixes. The engineer is in the process of preparing a final mix. It won’t be long now.
Q. And then what?
A. Then I package the show, of course. I send out packages to theatre companies who accept submissions of new musicals. And also, to theatre companies where I’ve worked in the past, or where I know people with whom I’ve worked, people who might think well of me from the start (as opposed to hearing from a total stranger.)
Q. Won’t this cost money?
A. Gee, I thought you’d never ask. Of course it will cost money. And this could take a long time.
Q. Won’t that be a drag?
A. Maybe. But the way I look at it, it’s all part of the process. It could take a long time, or it might not take very long at all, depending on how it’s meant to be.
Q. What if it’s not meant to be?
A. Oh, it’s meant to be all right. If it weren’t meant to be, it wouldn’t have gotten this far.
Q. But once you’ve sent out your script and your music, won’t you have to wait to hear from these companies? For months on end? Possibly years? What if you never hear from them at all?
A. Then there’s another alternative. Rather than put most of the money into submissions, put only a little bit of the money toward that aspect. Say, 20%. The other 80% will go toward funding a trial production — a local production, renting out a local house that will be ideal for the show. And then — inviting key people to the production.
Q. So then you can invite the people to whom you’ve submitted the show to come to this local production?
A. Yes. And not only them – but all kinds of other people. We’ll run the show for six nights only, over three weekends.
Q. Can you get this venue for three weekends in a row?
A. If I start soon enough, I can.
Q. How much does it rent for per night?
A. Two hundred bucks.
Q. So that’s $1200 you need already?
A. More than that. Add an extra four nights for tech week, and make it $2000. Plus, they provide the technical staff, and I have to pay them $15/hr.
Q. And won’t there be other costs?
A. All kinds of costs. I need to print out scripts. I might need to rent a rehearsal space, some building on campus somewhere, a space to use only to rehearse. Then of course I have to hold auditions somewhere, and get a cast together. Prior to that, there will be advertising costs. This thing could cost me hella money, let’s face it.
Q. Won’t there be some kind of return? Or profit margin?
A. I wouldn’t say profit. But a partial return, in terms of box office receipts. Even for the trial production at the perfect 400-seat theatre I have in mind, there will be ticket costs. I won’t let people in for free.
Q. So some money will be coming back?
A. To somebody, yes. Maybe that can go to the investor, or investors.
Q. Investor? Investors?
A. Yeah. That’s what I’m thinking,. Some detached person with little more than a monetary interest, might kick down some reasonable sum of money in exchange for box office receipts, and a small profit.
Q. But will that be enough to produce the show?
A. Naw, it would only be a jump start. A drop in the bucket, maybe.
Q. Where will the rest of the money come from?
A. Grants. Loans. Financial aid. LP sales.
Q. LP sales?
A. Yes. First off, I’m trying to sell my LP. I’ve managed to sell over 15 CD’s – you know, hard copies, to people in the hood who like my stuff. But online, last I checked, only two people had bought one. And they were both, like, friends of mine.
Q. Isn’t that discouraging?
A. I try not to think in those terms. I just have to push harder.
Q. But doesn’t this all go against your grain?
A. What grain? You gotta do what you gotta do. And relax in the process, knowing that the outcome is inevitable.
A. Inevitable. It’s meant to be.
Q. How can you say that?
A. I just can. I just know. It has something to do with the nature of complete commitment, and forging forward continuously, despite obstacles.
Q. But how do you know that your commitment is complete? I mean, if you did nothing but sleep for eight days after you finished your script, that hardly indicates the kind of commitment that suggests hard work and fortitude.
A. Maybe not. But it shows how much work went into that script, and why an eight day crashout would be warranted. And besides, there’s a universal nature to all of this that plays upon my very laziness, the very burnout of which you speak.
Q. How so?
A. It’s like this. Whenever I sink, whenever I crash, whenever I begin to feel that the whole project is random, and senseless, and pointless, and useless, and doomed to failure from the start, something happens in the Universe that alerts me back to the program.
Q. What do you mean?
A. Take for example when this demo came about. I had all but given up on the project. I had turned my attention to other things, more tangible, lucrative ventures. But at that very moment of disillusionment, the sound engineer appeared, willing to provide his services for free. This revitalized me.
And then, the money for the singers manifested at the exact time when we could do the studio work, and I could actually pay them. Saving up for months to pay competent, trained singers, actually worked. It was frustrating having to scrimp and save, while former associates of mine, people with money to spare, were only laughing at me and scoffing at me. But they too were a provision of the Universe.
Q. How so?
A. They provided the Resistance. Without resistance, there is no creation. Without an enemy, there is no battle.
Q. Then this whole thing is a battle?
A. Yes. I am at war.
Q. At war with whom?
A. With you, to be truthful.
Q. Why me?
A. Because you always question everything I do.
The Questioner is silent.
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