Writer Gwen Adams sculpts with words

During a recent rehearsal, philosopher-biker Switchblade (Jerry Vogt) protests Lori’s (Leslie Engelhard) claim that he was married four times. - Photo courtesy of Gwen Adams
During a recent rehearsal, philosopher-biker Switchblade (Jerry Vogt) protests Lori’s (Leslie Engelhard) claim that he was married four times.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Gwen Adams


For theater writer and director Gwen Adams, they mean everything.

She said it is very hard to sit down at a note pad or computer keyboard and sketch a real person an actor can embody using only adjectives.

“One thing I do is ask myself questions about the character,” Adams says, to get an idea of what kind of person to create.

“What’s their name? Why are they here? What are they about?” she asks.

It is hard to make a script that can stand on its own once it leaves her hands, but Adams can cheat. She’s a director too.

She can advise the actors how to live out the lines she gives them.

Her first completely original performance, “Empty Orchestra: Life Lessons in a Karaoke Bar,” will be performed at the 25th annual Bremerton Bash Saturday July 13.

For “Empty Orchestra,” Adams nearly did it all. She wrote and edited dialogue, selected the actors, located practice space and directed the movement.

She pulled actors from the Bremerton Community Theater and the Kingston Roving Players theater group. One of her actors is a musician in a local band as well.

Her team has been working together rehearsing the scenes for four or five weeks, Adams said.

“I really think the characters are the strongest part” of the play, Adams said.

Conveying characters through a script requires flexibility on her part too, Adams says. She realizes when actors read her words, they interpret them based on their own experience.

“You have to give the actors the space to interpret. You have to give them the framework and let them color it in.”

The most difficult aspect is getting actors to embody the material, she says, but there’s a point where she simply lets go.

“Once they go on the stage, it’s no longer mine. It’s all up to the actors. The energy changes as soon as it gets out of my hands.”

Adams’ most recent play follows a character coping with the superficiality of the world around her. Eventually, she realizes she is the one acting superficial and other people are actually genuine.

“Expect to learn something,” Adams says.

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