After years of battling, I’ve finally finished the first [full] draft of my play Leak. It’s about two friends who become a very makeshift family. There’s much more to it, but that turned out to be the main thrust of the story. The play began it’s life with two ideas sitting together: street art and the criminal internet release of stolen celebrity photos. Some called it a “leak,” but those photos weren’t leaked, they were stolen. It was a crime. There was something about those two things that had some kind of resonance in my memory, so much so that I called the play Leak from the get go.
Now, with a full draft of the play written, I know for a fact that the title doesn’t fit anymore. There is no “leak.” I jettisoned the idea of stolen celebrity photos or stolen personal photos long ago. I wrote last time about what happened when I sent some of my work to my friend Laura who is exceptionally good at sniffing out theme. That’s her gift. The play is thematically about technology, art, and family. And it shouldn’t be called Leak anymore. (Finding out a title doesn't fit after I finish a draft is a common occurrence for me...)
I’ve tried to find a name that encapsulates at least two of those three themes, something to do with robots or cyborgs, but then it sounds like the play is futuristic or something. And it’s not. Part of it takes place in the near future (2021) after a 15-year time jump. I’ve asked myself how art and family intersect, especially with street art or graffiti, but couldn’t find a title. I combed through the play for a line or image that spoke to the core of the play, but couldn’t. The closest I’ve come to a new title is “Wheatpaste.” It does speak to the play thematically, especially the family that’s created in the play, but it sounds a little dumb. I’m not ready to change the filenames in my computer to “Wheatpaste” just yet... God, each time I write it, it sounds worse and worse. But it’s probably the one image that speaks strongly to the play.
The play is also about permanence: permanence of art and permanence of family. Wheatpaste is impermanent, yet strong. The outside world can peel away at it, leaving very little left. You can’t protect it. You choose wheatpaste because it’s fast, it’s easy, and you don’t want something permanent. It says EVERYTHING about the play. Maybe it just sounds dumb because I’ve lived with this thing called “Leak” for so long that it’s hard to hear it called something else. Playwright Sherry Kramer once told us that good titles are “Pointers” towards the “Perception Shift” or the reversals and changes that happens in the play. Wheatpaste certainly does that.
In other news, I’ve started work on a musical inspired by the character of Irene Adler from Sherlock Holmes. I’m bashing out an outline and have come up with a working title. I’m thinking of calling it “Leak.”