Play 07

2013-08-12

Title: A Word with Our Playwright

Author: Peter Wood

Draft date: 13-08-12

Contact: peterwood2@gmail.com

On stage: a table with two chairs behind it and two microphones on it.

VOICE-OVER

And now . . . a word with our playwright!

The sound of tepid applause. A tight-lipped young man enters with a stack of note cards. He is the INTERVIEWER. He takes a seat . . . waits. Someone applauds. Someone snickers.

An Intern, young and nervous and dressed all in black with a headset on, rushes over to the Interviewer, whispers in his ear. The Interviewer makes a face and shakes his head. The Intern points to the wings. The Interviewer sighs, makes a small gesture of apology to the audience and follows the Intern off stage.

The lights go dark.

VOICE-OVER

And now . . . a word with our . . . playwright.

The lights blaze on and a pudgy man in his 40s enters. He is bald, has a beard, and is carrying a tumbler of whiskey. The applause is less than enthusiasitic. He frowns. Mutters something, drinks, and sits. The Interviewer comes out and sits.

INTERVIEWER

Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you and learn a bit more about your process.

PLAYWRIGHT

Yeah. Sure. Ok. Just don’t fucking ask me where I get my ideas from, right?

He looks pleased, as if he made a funny joke. Nobody else seems to get it. The Interviewer slips the top note-card to the bottom of the stack.

INTERVIEWER

Can you speak a little about your approach to dramatic structure?

The playwright sips his whiskey.

PLAYWRIGHT

I don’t have one?

INTERVIEWER

What do you mean?

PLAYWRIGHT

What do you mean?

INTERVIEWER

I mean, I . . . when you write . . . look, let me be perfectly honest here: we’ve been sitting here, watching these so-called plays, plays that don’t have any conflict, monologues that are more like broken memories, many of these are more like movement pieces than actual plays. You create these pretty soundscapes in your writing but you don’t have character development, you don’t have conflict, perepetia, or even action. Guys dressed in bunny suits telling jokes? I mean, what the hell is that?

PLAYWRIGHT

A fucking mistake . . . I specified that that play should be staged in an actual high school football stadium. Not a fucking theatre and where--

INTERVIEWER

Exactly my point! I mean, who does that? And calling for people to light a fire on stage or get in a bathtub of ice-cold water . . . you are scripting performance art, maybe but plays? Theatre? I don’t think I’m the only one here who thinks you are not writing plays at all.

The audience applauds.

The Playwright takes a drink.

PLAYWRIGHT

See . . . you’d think I’d get mad at that right? You’d think I’d be upset at the fact that you and this audience don’t see these as plays, or are bored. And the truth is, yeah, I’m a little mad and want to say fuck you, fuck all of you and walk off this stage and go home to my cat and my bottle of Jamesons 18 and probably sneak a couple of cigarettes that I’m not supposed to be smoking and maybe even watch some porn and complete the pitiful picture of a struggling, bitter, alone, and unknown writer in his 40s. But . . . that’s what you are expecting me to do. Hell, that’s what I expected me to do as well. But . . . look, I . . .

Long pause.

PLAYWRIGHT

I’m tired of it. Tired of the theatre I see, tired of the theatre that most of you see. What is my approach to dramatic structure? I am attempting to create moments. Just moments, that’s all. Some for laughing, some for reflection, some for mystification because I like being mystified even if many don’t. I’d like to think that if you spend three to ten minutes watching my works, you will have an experience. I’m not asking for participation, for you to move around or to be surrounded by the experience, I’m simply asking for my audiences to let the sounds, the sights, the words, the actions wash over them. Accept it. Bathe in it. Maybe not all moments work for all people but--

INTERVIEWER

That’s all well and good, and I understand pushing against boundaries, but it seems like you throw away so much of what makes drama . . . well, drama.

PLAYWRIGHT

To who?

INTERVIEWER

To who? To . . . people, audiences.

PLAYWRIGHT

If you were one of my students I’d assign you some reading . . . really, who the fuck are you to determine what drama is and isn’t?

INTERVIWER

I have a PhD from--

PLAYWRIGHT

Then you should fucking know better. Have you ever seen a Noh play? There is nothing, nothing that the stage cannot do, that theatre cannot present. Do you have to like everything, fuck no. But to say that what I do is not drama, that I’m not writing plays is to put theatre into a tiny box devoid of any joy and light and pleasure and experimentation. My belief in theatre is much stronger. There is nothing that cannot be done on stage. If it is true and honest and an attempt to . . .

He trails off. Two men dressed in bunny suits and carrying guns are approaching the stage from the audience.

INTERVIEWER

See, this is precisely what I mean. I mean, the absurdity, the randomness, the fact that your plays never have any cohesive logic to them. Actions never seem to arise from other actions or understandable motivations, character arcs are broken, people do things for no reason, or reasons so obscure to the audience that it’s the same thing.

PLAYWRIGHT

Look, I--

INTERVIEWER

No. I don’t care that you are in your 40s and a sad, pathetic man, I don’t care that your plays are the only thing you have to show for your existence. They are crap and this . . . this, men in bunny suits approaching the stage in order, to, one would assume, shoot me, is just . . . just . . . stupid.

PLAYWRIGHT

No. I . . . I didn’t write them into this.

Pause.

INTERVIEWER

You . . . what?

The Intern runs out, whispers in the Interviewers ear, then runs off.

PLAYWRIGHT

I. Did. Not. Write. Them. Into. This.

He sips his whiskey.

The bunnys take the stage. One aims at the Interviewer.

INTERVIEWER

Oh.Shit.

One aims at the Playwright.

PLAYWRIGHT

Now, this is . . . interesting.

.BLACKOUT

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