“I let characters and symbols emerge from me, as if I were dreaming. I always use what remains of my dreams of the night before. Dreams are reality at its most profound, and what you invent is truth because invention, by its nature, can’t be a lie.” ”—Eugene Ionesco
Batteries Not Included - A Short Play
There is a large bed in the middle of the stage facing the audience with dark, lightly disturbed navy sheets. There is also a boombox stage right. The lighting is low and romantic. On it, two teenagers in underwear sit facing away from each other. What sounds like elevator music is playing softly in the background. There is a large, pink vibrator in the middle of the bed. The mood is awkward. They speak with light Southern accents.
Mark (Nervously) : Its not like I don’t, want to… per se, you know. I want to, I mean yeah definitely but - well yeah you know… right? Don’t want to wake anyone up with the, ummmm noise. stuff. It’s just with that, and all — (he eyes the vibrator). There’d be a lot of shaking and… noise. And my grandmother is right… right down the hall (his voice slowly trailing off) and she has this habit of sleepwalking, and I just went to church with her this morning and all. (Pause. The girl turns to look at the vibrator; Mark snaps back to look ahead of himself, avoiding eye contact).
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So I won the Grand Prize in the Buffalo Young Writer’s Contest and got to see my play, Bright Shadows, last night!
It was my first full production so I’m still kind of freaking out.
Here’s me at the theater!
And just look at the program like THAT’S A REAL PROGRAM
AND THEY MADE ME A HEADSTONE LOOK AT IT
Sorry the picture is so fuzzy but that IS a picture from the performance. The actors were amazing and had such great chemistry and contrast. I got to meet them afterward and we kind of just hugged and flailed at each other.
And yes, it was a head trip speaking to people who played people who have only ever existed in my head.
But anyway, yeah, it was amazing to watch and you could have heard a pin drop in that theater, except for the few times when people laughed uncomfortably (the uncomfortable laughter made my night, no one knew how to react and it was fabulous). They used the stage exactly how I pictured, and the lighting was awesome, and the actors embodied the characters so well…
It was just really amazing and I was shaking afterward, I didn’t even know what to say and just kept thanking people and I was like whoa this was awesome I want to do this always all the time I need to write more plays yeah.
It was awesome.
“I’ve always been a reader. I grew up in a house that was packed floor to ceiling with books. My father also grew up surrounded by books, and he read a great deal. He constantly quotes and recites poetry and the Bible. His parents were big readers. I found the title for The Intelligent Homosexual in 1990, when my grandmother died and I went down to Lake Charles to help my father pack up her library. I came across her copy of Shaw’s The Intelligent Women’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism. I’m still incredibly moved to think about these Southern Jews, second-generation immigrants, some of them first generation, living in a part of the country not especially welcoming to progressive thought, with their libraries full of Ibsen and Dickens and Shaw. ”—Tony Kushner
“When I’m writing a new play, there’s a period where I know I shouldn’t be out in public much. I imagine most people who create go through something like this. You willfully loosen some of the inner straps that hold your core together. You become more porous and multivalent and multivocal, so that the multitudes you have inside yourself can start to get up and walk around and emerge. Then, hopefully, you put them back into the cave.”—Paris Review - The Art of Theater No. 16, Tony Kushner
The Script Cabins: Writing a Play 101
We’re rolling out the red carpet to the Script Cabins at Camp NaNoWriMo. This is the third of our guides for all you future screenwriters, playwrights, and graphic novelists. Remember us at the Tonys!:
All great stage productions start with a script: it’s the cornerstone from which the actors, designers, and directors take their cues.
When writing a first draft of a play, it’s best not to concern yourself too much about how it will be performed. It’s more important to get your idea onto the page.
STARTING YOUR PLAY
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Can't deny your roots
I’m stage trained. In other words, once I’m done writing a piece I’m used to handing it over to someone else to: add music, create the set, design the costumes, ad infinitum. So when, for an audio drama, a sound person wants me to pick all the sounds and music because it’s my vision… or I’m requested to direct every nuance of every aspect of the work I’m flummoxed. At what point in a collaboration do other people start exercising their creativity?
Frankly I’m surprised Shakespeare gets done anymore. I mean, after all, he’s dead, he’s not around to make everyone else’s decisions. Then again, maybe that’s why he is produced so often, with a dead author you don’t have to consider his “vision” just in case he doesn’t like yours.
Personally I like seeing other people add their own creativity to my work, that’s why I like to collaborate.
I have a favor to ask.
I’m writing a play and it’s taking place in on a subway in New York.
What my request to you my followers is stories. They can be from anywhere, and between any number of persons. If you’ve ever had an interesting, heart-warming, comedic or intense moment with a stranger on the subway, metro, bus or ANY other form of public transportation, please share it with me.
Any instance would be greatly accepted and deeply appreciated.
So, thank you, and please don’t be shy to share something with me if we’ve never spoken (:
- PRIOR: God--
- PRIOR: He isn't coming back.
- And even if he did...
- If he ever did come back, if he ever dared to show His face or his Glyph or whatever in the Garden again...if after all this destruction, if after all the terrible days of this terrible century He returned to see how much suffering His abandonment had created, if He did come back you should sue the bastard. That's my only contribution to this Theology. Sue the bastard for walking out. How dare He.
- ANGEL: Thus spake the Prophet.
8. Three Reasons
(SHARON and JACK are on the phone. JACK is in New York City, SHARON is in a small town in New Hampshire.)
SHARON: It’s just so boring here. I’m dying.
JACK: You should move to New York!
SHARON: Haha, maybe I should.
JACK: I’m serious!
SHARON: But I haaaate New York.
JACK: I don’t get that!
SHARON: Why not?
JACK: Because New York is great!
SHARON: I mean, to be perfectly honest, I am considering it.
SHARON: I dunno. It’d be better than this shit town.
SHARON: But I mean, why New York, that’s the thing.
JACK: Why New York?! Because New York is awesome.
SHARON: No, but compared to like, Chicago, or San Francisco or something.
JACK: Nah, New York is way better than both of those cities combined.
SHARON: I just don’t like cities!
JACK: You’ll get used to it!
SHARON: Alright. Well. I’ll move to New York if you give me three good reasons why I should.
JACK: Seriously? Okay. Well. There’s lot of jobs.
SHARON: I dunno about that, in this economy.
JACK: No no no, it’s bad, but there’s still more jobs in New York than Bumfuck New Hampshire.
SHARON: Hey! That’s my home town you’re talking about.
JACK: Okay, well, there’s a lot to do. You can find everything, anything you want.
SHARON: I’ll give you that.
JACK: Great. That’s two reasons right there.
SHARON: I still don’t know about the jobs.
JACK: There’s a lot of great restaurants.
SHARON: That falls under the realm of “lots to do.”
SHARON: There’s a lot to do. That’s one thing. Separate things you can do don’t count as more reasons, that’s too easy.
SHARON: So, jobs – I mean, technically, that’s something to do, but I’ll give it to you, that’s one. Two: lots to do. Three?
SHARON: I really don’t like cities that much.
JACK: Well, there’s the people.
SHARON: The people?
JACK: Yeah, the people here are really great, and friendly, and warm.
SHARON: That’s the exact opposite of everything I have ever heard about New Yorkers.
JACK: Well, not all the people are mean.
SHARON: You’re being so convincing.
JACK: No! Seriously. There’s a lot of really nice people. People who care. People who just want to be friends and hang out.
SHARON: I can find people like that anywhere.
SHARON: Seriously, no one place has “special” people. Everyone is the same everywhere. I can find friends anywhere.
JACK: Well, what about me?
I’ve been super busy lately. We’re going into tech week for our next show and I had to be in the office and then do focus, so it’s been hectic. And I know I didn’t post anything yesterday. I feel bad. But people fail and I shouldn’t lose my mind over it. :/