Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 79: Road map

Forgive my less-frequent posting this last week.  The time I had to write I used for actually writing my play more than for this blog.  I have a nine-page scene for class tonight to show for it, though!  So I'm happy about that.  Hopefully this week I can manage more of both.

This week, I stumbled upon a road map for my play.  I still don't know the final destination, but I know one place where I'm stopping for the night, and the direction I'm driving off in the next morning.  I'm also going to be picking up another passenger along the way, which could make the trip more interesting. 

It's funny how these things come to you.  The first big lightbulb happened while I was journaling about my doubts about even continuing with this project .  It went like this: "Why am I writing a play?  Just to say I did?  Because I like it?  Do I have a story to tell?  Frank has a story to tell.  An end-of life story.  Maybe it's about Frank and Vivian.  Can a ---"

And then it happened.  I got a chill.  Which told me I was onto something.

"Can an estranged father and daughter heal after the death of the mother?"

Suddenly I was inspired again, excited about writing again.  I don't know where exactly that question will lead me, or whether it will remain the main question of my play in the end, but at least I know what highway I'm driving on for awhile.

The second flash of inspiration came after a passing comment made by Robert, the actor for whom I am writing the role of Frank.  I was telling him about some of my struggles trying to figure out where I was going with this, particularly not being sure at what point in the play Frank will end up in the nursing home.  We know he's ending up there (since it's starts there, and then does a flash back), but how much play do I have to tell before he's there?  Or is most of the play about him being there?  Robert said, off the cuff, "maybe act II is in the nursing home".  "Good idea", I thought, and just kind of filed it away.

Then a couple of days ago I was walking along the river, thinking about my play when -- boom, lightening bolt.   I had to stop and make a note in my palm pilot to make sure I wouldn't forget.  Act I ends with Billy (Angie's brother) returning home from his own hospital stay and Frank entering the nursing home.  Act II opens with the very first scene I ever wrote for Frank: a few months later on New Year's Eve, Frank is in the rec room with a fellow nursing home resident, Vera, grappling over the TV remote.  This way both acts open with Frank asleep in front of the TV in the nursing home.  I love this -- I'm a big fan of parallel structure.

Who knows if any of these decisions will end up in the final product, but it feels so much better to have a shape, to have a few turns and stopping-points marked on the map.  Now if only I could figure out where I want to end this thing....
blog comments powered by Disqus