Bethany Lawrence can’t wait to see her first, full-length play on stage.
Lawrence, the assistant artistic director of the Lambton Young Theatre Players, is the playwright of The Last Wish of the Lost Prince which is on stage this week at Sarnia’s Imperial Theater.
“Nancy Keys (LYTP artistic director) asked me back in February if I wanted to write a play; she needed a break and it was my opportunity to do it. And I said ‘Yes, please!’”
Lawrence, who studied theater arts at Brock University and was a member of the Young Company at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia, has written short plays for the junior company but it doesn’t compare with writing a full-length, multi-character play.
And there are times when Lawrence, a young mother with only two-hours a day to dedicate to writing, wondered why she agreed to the project. “Sometimes two hours is not enough,” she says. “It takes a lot of thinking before your fingers hit the keyboard – how is this stage-able…how much should be said and how is this going to work on stage?
“Sometimes in those two hours, I got nothing done I’d stare at the screen and say ‘nothing is coming to me at all.’ The following day, I would get lots done and then the next day I would get writers block again.”
Lawrence worked with Keys on the projects producing about five or six drafts of The Last Wish of the Lost Prince before presenting it to the 20 young actors who will bring it to life.
“Even after we gave it to the kids there were changes that had to be made.”
As the young players perform, Lawrence plans to be in the audience as often as possible to see the results of her labour. And she says she has learned a lot about the theatre and others in the process.
“I realize that it is more diff than I thought it would be,” she says. “When you’re writing a play that people will pay money to see…the reputation of LYTP is riding on it. Writing the play gave me a lot more admiration for Nancy who can pull things off in weeks if she has to.”
Lawrence says despite the difficulties of writing, it will all be worth it this week.
“It’s harder than I thought, but its really rewarding,” she says. “Seeing the kids saying the lines that I wrote that’s really cool.
“This is the first time as an author that the public will see the work I’ve done that’s pretty exciting.”