|Julie Shuttleworth & Sarah Blubaugh
Last weekend, two of my very favorite actors read my new script in its entirety for a small audience. This is my second foray into the two-person play, my first of any length that is composed of entirely one scene, in real time. That it was able to hold the attention of the assembled (in spite of a few technical glitches) says something about the characters, and their story.
By the middle of the week I was possessed by dull torpor, a malaise engendered, I believe, by the reading. This reading was a beginning, of course, not an end. God knows how the work will develop. But having drawn three intense writing projects to a close, I was in a period of stasis which left me in discomfort.
This is a thing that happens. My brain was very active, sorting through the plot, character and dialogue of three very different stories, for weeks. Suddenly, it’s all on hold, waiting for criticism. It is a melancholy place for me to be.
Also, the election. The dreary weather. And the subject matter of the play itself, which is so closely inspired by the feelings of isolation and helplessness brought on by our present, global calamity. One participant said, “It was lovely to see a play about the pandemic that was not about the pandemic.”
Mid-week the criticism arrived for my dark fiction assignment and I received many helpful comments regarding some of the elements of the story that I had the most concern about. It could be a straightforward tale of a night where you learn everything you thought you knew was wrong, but I was inspired to include a supernatural element which I either need to make bigger, clearer, more apparent, less subtle, or jettison entirely. Not sure which way I want to go with this, yet.
Tonight we hand out candy, safely, to the children who arrive. And we will create our annual ofrenda, to remember and celebrate those who have gone before. My mother will join them for the first time, and I will make her coffee. She truly loved her weak, instant decaf.