Friday, April 23, 2010
Play for our Times
Here is the first scene of my new play called Play for our Times
ACTOR: I am not sure you could write a play for our times. How long has it been since you actually wrote a play?
PLAYWRIGHT: Quite a while. I had no motivation to write a play. I had no actors to play the parts. But I always thought I would become famous toward the end of my life. I am 78. I can't really wait any longer to write the play for our times.
ACTOR: You want me to play the leading role of course?
PLAYWRIGHT: You are a professional actor, aren't you? I assure you, I am every woman. I will be able to write a part that will challenge you.
ACTOR: How so?
PLAYWRIGHT: You know Henry the Eighth don't you? I have been watching that series about him, and reading histories and watching documentaries.
ACTOR: Surely you aren't going to write a play about Henry the Eighth?
PLAYWRIGHT: No, no. I am just citing my research when I create a character. I am very thorough. I may have to study your character for months in order to write a part you will want to play.
ACTOR: How do you mean? How can you study my character? We don't even live in the same part of the country.
PLAYWRIGHT: We will set up a telepathic relationship. You just think about things you want to tell me. I pick them up.
ACTOR: How so? You mean you will try to read my mind?
PLAYWRIGHT: Yes, it is better to do it telepathically because if you try to write it to me you will freeze up. You will end up not saying anything.
ACTOR: How about the phone?
PLAYWRIGHT: Terrible. You would not say anything I could use on the phone either. But you do have to give me your tacit permission to tap your mind. I am a professional mind reader but I always ask permission to enter someone's domain.
ACTOR: What do you expect to extract from my mind?
PLAYWRIGHT: Who knows, but it is amazing what people will think about if they think someone is tapping their minds. They are much less inhibited, so communications you pick up this way can go on for hours.
ACTOR: But how do you know what you get is real?
PLAYWRIGHT: You don't talk about it. That would spoil the illusion. You are experimenting with telepathy so what the other person sends may just create images, pieces of thinking, flow of consciousness.
ACTOR: But how could you enjoy that kind of thing?
PLAYWRIGHT: Oh, you take control. You do dialogue. You ask questions. And you believe that what you receive back is the message and then you don't ask later anything about the conversation, because this is not a conventional conversation. It is like a dream. Your dream mechanism will likely imagine something that is not quite accurate, but the more you practice the more accurate you are apt to be.
ACTOR: But what is the purpose of such an activity? We have the Internet.
PLAYWRIGHT: Yes, but our messages are still very primitive. They don't even cover much of what we really think. You see a great deal of what we say to other people is determined by who is listening or reading what we say. We always alter what we say for those who are listening. But if you set up a means of communication that no one else can tap then you are a lot more apt to get what that person really thinks. A person who develops telepathic powers can become a more powerful communicater in every way.
ACTOR: Well, I am quite intrigued but I am not sure I want this part that depends on my developing my telepathic powers.
PLAYWRIGHT: Believe me, this will help me to become the perfect playwright for you. You will be guiding me to creating the part of your dreams.
ACTOR: But is this exercise of the mind necessary? Don't you have any other way to write a part for someone?
PLAYWRIGHT: No, I have gone past creating parts that are superficial representations of people. This way I will get something new. A melding of aspects of you not deeply explored yet.
ACTOR: Good hell. This sounds like an invasion of personality I am not sure I trust.
PLAYWRIGHT: I am interested in understanding what a person is in a new way. I am always studying the spirit to see if it has a life beyond what we know here. I tap people's minds all the time of people who have passed from this realm. This is pure communication between them and me a lot like telepathy. I try to prove these spirits exist just like you do in a form I can tap just like I can tap your mind. I think the key to their existence is contained in my mind. When I tap the mind of the spirit, I let what comes flow into my consciousness. Sometimes I write down what comes, sometimes I don't. Now if I can tap a living person's mind there is a parallel. The communications are much the same. Do you see what I am getting at. When I write the part it will be an interpretation of your spirit, a portrait you might say. As soon as you passed I should be able to tap your spirit the same way that I do here.
ACTOR: Do I have to die in this role?
PLAYWRIGHT: Oh no, I will write many interpretations of your spirit life. Of course I will also communicate with you in the conventional way. So that we can be sure that we are connecting in the familiar way. I read what you write. Perhaps you will read what I write. We have to have some way to keep in touch the familiar ways that people do it, if they don't live in the same part of the country. I have done this many ways. With people I saw everyday, I picked up on their expressions, made eye contact, said a few words and so on. I only use telepathy when I find it becomes necessary. People stop each other from communicating all the time, according to their own limitations. People don't like to see other people communicating in ways they can't, for example through books they have read. If people listening aren't readers they become very annoyed with such conversations because they feel left out of the loop. Actors communicate about parts they have played. Professional actors might be an exclusive club that others can't really belong to because they have not had those experiences.
I am not a playwright operating out of a life in the theater since I did not get the opportunities. Many playwrights don't get the opportunity to do their plays in theaters, but that is not a bad thing because it forces them to go to other arenas. Everybody dies. Everybody deals with the question of whether there is a spirit, so that drama is universal. We all get to play some part in life and in death. We may not do this Play for Our Times in a theater. The theater might not be relevant enough to our times to do it. They might be back doing Henry the Eighth.
ACTOR: I am not sure I want this part.
PLAYWRIGHT: Think about it.
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