Today is the last day of 31 Plays, 31 Days. I posted the above sign on my door to make sure I finished! My wife was very generous to give me a ton of time on my day off to get it done!
This month has been a rush. It's been inspiring. It's been challenging. It's been uplifting. I felt like someone with purpose, with drive, with fear, with excitement, with talent, with no talent, with joy. That's where it ends: I felt like someone with joy. Specifically, a writer with joy. It's been a while since I've felt like a writer, let alone one with joy.
I've enjoyed my characters. I've been surprised by certain images (notably Lighthouse, Paltry, and Swing Dancing). I've tried to make each play need the stage. What I mean by that is I wanted to make sure that each play used sound and light and space of a theatre, the tools. I imagined each one on stage, usually a black box theatre, simple sets. There were some such as Swing Dancing that takes place in multiple sets in quick succession. Swing Dancing takes place in two separate bedrooms, though I saw the play using the same bed for each scene and only the characters changing. We could even see the other characters off to the side, getting ready for their next moments in the "bedroom." I had a vision for each play, how they would work. None of them would require very big sets, many of them could take place on a bare stage, lights giving us the setting. That was important to me.
I'm most proud, or most excited by my first and last plays: Opportunity and Solitude. I called the play A Town Called Opportunity. It was one of very few plays I gave an actual title; most of the plays are called by the word from my friend, Kate, that served to inspire them. A Town Called Opportunity takes place in a desert and has the coming together of a man and a young woman. It has a very clear backstory and the characters are very strong. I would almost argue that the plot and characters are the best I wrote in the past 31 days.
Perhaps it's because of that feeling that I decided to use my final play to bookend the first. I don't see it as a scene in the same play, but as its own play that stands beside the first. Kind of like how Angels in America: Perestroika is its own play in its own right, while being a sequel. A River Called Solitude is a prequel that stands on its own. It tells its own story, even though we revisit the same man from Opportunity. Even though its a prequel, it is meant to be read after Opportunity. If you read them, feel free to read them one after the other, but read Opportunity first.
My fried Kate had given me more than 31 words, so I wanted to use the rest of them in my final play. Here are the words that helped inspire A River Called Solitude:
There's one word left unused that Kate gave me; it didn't fit in this last play: Jinkies! Maybe I'll write that one tomorrow… But this next month, I will write each day, finally finishing a play that I started last year. I can't wait to get started on the new path I've set before me.