Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 187: Water works

Yesterday I accomplished what had initially appeared to be an impossible task: I got Angie to convince her grandfather to come home for Christmas even though he can no longer walk.  When I finally hit upon the argument that tipped him over the edge, I burst out sobbing.  Again.  This seems to be becoming a regular occurrence.  Which leaves me wondering: do other playwrights experience this?  Do moments of emotional truth in their writing leave them in a puddle on the floor?  Or is this something about me and my connection (or dis-connection) to my own emotions?  Have I kept things so bottled up and buried for so long that now they are starting to come out in my writing and thus causing this big reaction in me?  Is this just my own personal catharsis happening?  (see Day 97: Playwriting as Therapy).  Any playwrights out there who can chime in? I really am curious.

The reason Angie's task seemed so impossible (other than the basic fact that I think it would be tough to convince anyone who had just lost the use of his legs to go anywhere) is that Angie wasn't able to convince Frank to go in the previous incarnation of this scene.  It was the second scene/short play that I wrote for these characters, before I ever started the full play.  Angie came to the nursing home to take Frank home for a birthday surprise, only to discover that he couldn't walk anymore.  In that scene, he won't budge and she agrees to stay and celebrate with him there.  But now in the full play, I couldn't leave him there -- he has to come home for Christmas so that he and Vivian can have a huge fight.  But I honestly didn't know how I could make that happen -- Angie not only had to convince Frank to go,  she also had to convince me that her argument was good enough to make someone agree to do something he really didn't want to do.  I honestly didn't know how I was going to do it, and it was not easy.  But somehow I did it; I came up with a series of arguments that escalated, getting stronger every beat, until she hit upon the big whammy that he just couldn't say no to.  It was very exciting and satisfying.  Now let's just hope everyone else finds it believable too.

I wonder how many kleenexes I'll have to go through when I'm writing the big fight scene today and tomorrow....
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