Embracing the Messy Bits by Bianca Sams

bs2-8-10-2Bianca Sams is the playwright of RUST ON BONE, a finalist in Gulfshore Playhouse’s Second Annual New Works Festival. A staged reading of RUST ON BONE will be performed on Thursday September 4, 2014 at 8:00pm

We all have them. We all try to hide them. You know what I’m talking about right …those imperfections, flaws, that soft under belly, or those down right messy bits that we are terrified to reveal to the world. Or, maybe it’s just me? 

In every day life it’s probably wise to keep these bits to ourselves or at the very least only share them with those closest to us. After all, we wouldn’t want some one exploiting or holding them against us now would we. But, as a Playwright  keeping those bits in isn’t the best option. Let me explain. In order for a new play like Rust On Bone to grow I have to face that mess, I have to constantly look it dead in eye without flinching, and ask others to do the same.

However, THIS is also the most difficult and terrifying part of being a Playwright. And, I hate it! I hate the mess. I want to just hide it away and pretend it doesn’t exist. I break into sweats and have nightmares about facing my mess. Believe me, this internal struggle is intense.

I think it all started when I was a kid. You see I shared a room with my sister. She was like Ms. Clean meets B. Smith. Everything was always so stylish and immaculate on her side of the room. My side? Well, yeah not so much.  It gave me a bit of a complex as you can imagine. Then add that to the fact that my father was a Navy man, who liked doing bunk inspections and you can probably grasp why it isn’t all that easy for me to embrace the mess.

I clearly remember the age when it dawned on me that I could just hide, obscure, or blur all that chaos with a little creative “organization” IE hiding things in tubs, containers, boxes like my sister’s that “looked” all neat and clean, but really just camouflaged it all. 

I also remember my mother’s Spring-cleaning campaigns that forced me to face the hard truth. I would hem and haw as I went through each and every one of those pretty little tubs to deal with the mess that I’d been hiding from the world. It hurt like hell to shine the bright light of day on all those things, but my life was always the better for purging them and moving on.

I still “occasionally” (*cough cough* I mean often *cough*) find myself trying to hide, obscure, and blur the lines of the messy bits in my work. I want so badly for people to see my plays as polished, beautiful, and hey maybe even a little brilliant.  But, just the same I also know that I really have to shine some light on the dark recesses of my work and find the things that need to be purged so that the piece can grow and evolve.

However, one of the best parts of being an artist is that I don’t have to do this alone.  Instead of hemming and hawing by myself in my room, I can work with brilliant actors, directors, designers, dramaturges, and theaters to bring out the best in my work. I can also get feedback from a diverse audience to find out what resonates with them.

So yes, that means I have to expose my soft under belly to lots people, which on one hand is extremely difficult. However, on the other hand, this process arms me with invaluable feedback so that I can hunt down and destroy those messy bits much faster. So instead of hiding my flaws I am prepared to go out there this week and embrace my messy bits.

I feel truly blessed to do this difficult task with the amazing team from the Gulfshore Playhouse. It will be scary at times I am sure, but it will also be invaluable to get fresh eyes on the script.  In the end I know it will be vastly helpful as I cultivate this brand new play Rust On Bone.  

So please come join us at Gulfshore Playhouse’s New Works Festival to watch as my fellow Playwrights and I embrace the messy bits of our newest creations.


Bianca Sams is an Actor/Writer hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her plays are lyrical investigations of found stories out of today’s headlines or the pages of history, that ask audiences to face their own complex love affair with misery. She recently finished her MFA in Playwriting at Ohio University. She received her BFA from New York University’s Tisch School, where she earned the distinction of being Tisch’s first ever Triple Major (Acting, Dramatic Writing, Africana Studies). Awards and honors include KCACTF Lorraine Hansberry (2nd place), Rosa Parks Award (2nd place), Kennedy Center/Eugene O’Neill New Play Conference fellow, Jane Chambers Student Playwright Award/Athe (2nd Place), Scott McPherson Award, The Playwright Center Core Apprentice (2014), Playwright Foundation BAPF (finalist), Eugene O’Neill NPC (semi-finalist), TRI Research Fellowship at Ohio State University, Tennessee Rep – Ingram New Works Project Playwright-in-Residence (2014) and T. S. Eliot Acting Fellowship. For more information and samples of her work please go to www.biancasams.com or check out her food blog at www.fingerlickinkitchen.com  

One thought on “Embracing the Messy Bits by Bianca Sams

  1. Dear Bianca……I can’t wait to attend the reading tomorrow night and to meet you! I can tell the audience is in for a treat!

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