Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The play

I have set myself the hardest task yet in my life: to look back with compassion on the hardest, blackest parts of my adolescence. So painful. My body is a wreck, each day some new phenomenon gives me trouble. All your life is in your muscles and anyone who says differently is just plain wrong. This stuff is coming out. It's coming out of my muscles, it's not even my play sometimes, it's like the play written by my muscles. And my strongest muscle is my heart. So hah! All that crap about pink hearts and girls. Women have warrior's hearts. They should be depicted as enormous and powerful. Whoever sold us this pink thing with girls take note: this is where the market should be heading.

The more time I take selfishly very selfishly to write this play, the happier my children seem to be. This is in part because of the endless supply of candy, hot cross buns and hot chocolate.

In part I think I am able to write this play only because I am in this place that I hate so much. Even though I hate it, my children are happy here and are in a powerfully good environment. Not just benign or stimulating, although it is that too, but actually saturated with virtue and quests for the arts. It is great here for them and they are happy, and I couldn't write this play otherwise.

The more I work on this play the more I love my husband too.

So every spare second, sometimes an amazing four or five hours a day, I am writing. Hence I am not writing the blog much, it seems to me the times I have updated the blog is when the time has come for me to write a scene that is kind of scary to me. I mean, to me I am really writing a horror play as well as a comedy as well as a coming-of-age story. It examines the underlying belief culture of Evangelical Christianity and how powerful that force was and is in American culture. I am Vaclav Havelling the shit out of this play and I don't care who knows it.

Now I am thinking about a scene that I know is important - just to consider, not to necessarily have in the play at all -- the sort of suicidal thoughts.

If you have gone through as much depression in your life or even if you haven't, you know the key to surviving being suicidal is to not think about suicide. Under any circumstances. All reality starts as thought, so give suicide as little chance as possible for becoming a reality by not considering it.

Luckily now I am not depressed and this is a play, this is my chance. This is my chance to get it right. To look at it and see it for what it was and not be scared. It is really useful and to me perhaps the first purpose of drama that I am writing this as a play. I can make it theatrical and emphasize the characters and change what happened in ways that really make the whole thing a play, a thing for the stage. All that is good, right? It's still really fucking terrifying to me to even think a little bit about suicide. You know why? I mean, the bout I had after I got out of the hospital in 2004? It was so bad. I would fall to the ground sobbing, attacked by an instant depth of sorrow I pray you will never know. I used to have a lot of time built into my weekly schedule where I would just sit there and breath and hold on to the table and very actively not think about killing myself.

You know what, that whole thing puts my brain in hyperdrive and has made me what I am today, a playwright, so I have to accept that this is a thing about myself.

I find myself in the play treading lightly over the most painful subjects. I really give the audience the softest option when it comes to showing the pain of adolescence. Yet when I even describe little bits of the play to people they start crying with sympathy. Everyone else seems like quite the fucking amateur when it comes to suffering, I'll tell you that. That was SUCH A WELSH thing to say!!!! Because it's freaking obnoxious and also devastatingly true!

But really, there is a lot of comedy in the play. Bop and Skippy figure in quite a bit of it and Bop and Skippy are hilarious. I sent them an e-mail the other day telling them how much I was digging just thinking about us and what we used to do and how we used to talk and what we used to talk about and that I loved the way the play was coming out with a lot of them in it. And that, I hoped, was adequate compensation for the fact that Skip was turning into the comic relief. Although the more I think about it, the more I realize that actually, Skippy always was the comic relief.

2 comments:

  1. Rachel - this post makes me happy (and eager) in so many ways. Happy for your kids in their wonderful hot cross buns and paintings environment. Happy for you being in such flow. Happy you are here. Can't wait to read it friend. xoxo

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  2. I read this while listening to the Enigma Variations that is your soundtrack. Finish your play, and explain a world to us all.

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