Sunday, September 18, 2016

Some thoughts about playwriting while working on "Seeds"

"A stage play is basically a form of uber-schizophrenia. You split yourself into two minds - one being the protagonist and the other being the antagonist. The playwright also splits himself into two other minds: the mind of the writer and the mind of the audience. (David Mamet)

Had one of those "eureka!" moments while working on my play this morning and not really a surprising revelation to writers.

Inspiration comes in moments.

Sometimes, too frequently as I've bemoaned in previous blog entries, a writer can sit in front of a computer staring at the white screen to the point of snow blindness, anticipating a flurry of ideas to flood in. For me, it's not usually the result of a lack of ideas but the inability to hone in on one interesting scenario that could be adapted into a play. Dozens of potential story ideas that didn't pan out are currently stored in the "save" file, which hopefully will be scrutinized and reviewed at a future date. Then there are those unfortunately rare occasions when you get that gut feeling that whatever you're writing is sheer genius.

"So given the upbeat mood, one assumes that "Seeds" is moving along?"

So far it's actually writing itself, in that the characters necessitate further exploration. The story focuses on two females whose paths cross in an unexpected way and place. Good Samaritan, Julie, steps out of her comfort zone and stops to intervene in what she believes to be a fellow individual in need of her help. She feels compelled to intrude in Sylvia's routine of feeding pigeons given the circumstances of their meeting up. Julie realizes that not everyone wants to be helped and that you can't help a person if they don't want to help themselves or see themselves requiring help. Therein lays her challenge and dilemma.

Another character has been introduced in the form of  Burt, who works for the park department. In his capacity as park supervisor and in spite of numerous verbal reprimands, he warns her (Sylvia) that he has been ordered to take stronger measures to discourage the presence of her flying friends. The challenge is how Sylvia will respond to Burt's threat and what steps will she take to ensure the safety of her feathered friends? How will this affect the friendship between Sylvia and Julie?


I was just warning Sylvia that she has to stop feeding the pigeons. It's not like I haven't told her a thousand times before, but I'm getting heat from the director to take more action, which she won't like


I've tried to explain the situation to my friends, here, but they don't listen for whatever reason. Don't think they like you, Burt


Never met a pigeon lover like Sylvia. Comes here every day to feed them. Why I don't know - that is to say, a person has to take a rest now and then to take care of themselves. I was telling her she's not dressed for this weather and needs warmer clothes. We're sharing a hot pretzel and coffee. Here's your pretzel, Sylvia

And so the dance continues...Sylvia defending her pigeons, Julie reaching out to help a fellow human being and developing a new friendship and Burt about to make his move.

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