Malinda Morgan is the playwright and director of Soon My Love, an original play opening with Consider This Theater Co. in Murfreesboro, TN this weekend! Soon My Love runs November 11-20 at Mills-Pate Arts Center. Today we’re learning about Malinda’s theatre artist journey and her work with this piece.
Malinda attributes much of her artistic interest to her grandmother. She grew up watching her grandmother explore everything from painting, to sewing, to baking, to making her own teddy bears. When Malinda got into the arts herself, her grandmother was very supportive. At the age of three or four she told her grandmother she wanted to be an actress. “I put on lots of productions for my grandmother and she’s the person that’s believed in me my whole life and has always wanted me to pursue whatever makes me happy.”
As Malinda began to explore her own interests, she was drawn to Saturday Night Live and watched it constantly. She spent time with creative friends. “Me and my friends made a new girls group growing up in the 90s. We made up a new band every summer.” She had a choir teacher who believed in her and pushed her to explore more avenues of the arts. At fourteen she was in her first theatre production, which was Peter Pan.
Malinda in Theatre Today
Malinda is very active in the arts and theatre world today. She attributes a lot of her growth as an artist to watching and observing others to learn from their technique. She has explored a wide range of theatre areas, but really loves directing, stage management, and acting. She has the most fun acting in situations where she can improvise. “I think I like directing the most though. I like to see words come to life. I like to see the imagery. I like to envision it in my head and then let everyone else see it too”.
Soon My Love synopsis
Now Malinda has written a full-length play! Synopsis: “Two days after Mark passes away the family has to reconcile with his death and Charlotte’s dementia. Charlotte tells stories of her life until she walks into the memories she is talking about. Follow Charlotte on her journey as she says goodbye to her family and decides if she would do everything the same all over again. If given a second chance would she make the same choices?”
Consider This Theater Company
Malinda has worked on productions and serves on the board with Consider This Theater Company, where Soon My Love is being produced. The organization has an emphasis on the local community and making theatre accessible for all audiences. She is grateful for the opportunity to work on her piece with this group, especially since it was not yet finished when they accepted it as part of the next season.
Soon My Love origin
The way the story of Soon My Love began was an off-the-cuff moment of creativity. Malinda remembers sitting on a porch in a rocking chair with her friend looking out a lake, and she came up with the character Charlotte while just goofing off. At the time, she called the character “Grandma” and it was just this woman who was very confused and talking to her granddaughter. This person kept making a reappearance in Malinda’s creative pursuits and eventually became Charlotte.
The Writing Process
Soon My Love began as a ten minute play, then a one act, and now a full-length play. Workshopping the piece with other artists has been really helpful for Malinda to develop the piece into what it is now. In a workshop, she received feedback that the play felt unfinished. She shared that she had an idea for a scene that would be difficult to write and was told that the idea is exactly what the piece needed. She took the time to write and work the scene into the script and it has payed off.
Directing and Technical Elements
A project that prepared Malinda for this process with Soon My Love was a play called The World Over by Keith Bunin, which she directed with Consider This. The playwright called for a pretty grand set and Malinda’s production had almost no set. Instead, the environment was created through technical elements like light and sound. This approach pushed Malinda technically as a director and she is taking that experience into her work with Soon My Love. There are no walls in the production, and lights and sound not only create the environment but allow the audience into a character’s mind. Malinda describes her art as abstract and this is definitely reflected in Soon My Love.
Working With Heavy Material
Malinda has been careful to take care of herself and her cast while working on this heavy material. She remembers playing Helen Bechdel in Fun Home: she became depressed while embodying this character because she never knew how to “de-role”. She has taken steps and done research to make sure that her actors and team have a different experience with Soon My Love. When they arrive to rehearsal, they spend time stretching and connecting to the space. At the end of the rehearsal, they literally “shake it out” and leave the character in the space. She also advises the actors to leave the character’s shoes in the space as well, which serves as another degree of separation and intentionality. Malinda stresses that putting your own needs as a person first is so important as an artist.
Advice for Theatre Artists
When asked to share advice for other artists who want to write or produce their own work, Malinda encourages them to just do it. “Start small, grow big”. She has appreciated having other artists in her circle to encourage her and also to give her honest feedback. She stresses that your work does not have to be perfect. She worried about writing as she is creative but is not the best with grammar. At one point she realized that other people can help in areas she may struggle with as an artist. For example, there are people who get paid to edit other people’s writing and make it sound better. Malinda also encourages other artists to allow themselves to fail. Art is a process.
In regards to Soon My Love, Malinda shares:“We talk about dementia, we talk about generational trauma, abuse, PTSD, infancy loss, so a lot of heavy topics”. There’s an emphasis on characters in the show being seen for the first time in regard to these issues. Topics like miscarriage and still births aren’t explored often onstage, but they are more common than people think. Malinda hopes that Soon My Love audience members will be better equipped to open up a conversation in their own families. “That’s my real goal: that people leave and maybe they have a conversation with a family member that’s difficult”. There will be talkbacks after every performance.
Get Your Tickets!
Support Malinda and the Soon My Love team November 11-20 at Mills-Pate Arts Center.
Website and ticket info: https://www.considerthisinc.com/current-productions/
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