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Since The Rules say, "Start writing at 12:00am on November 1st," and it's just past that date/time here, I started writing. My play now reads:
Still not sure what my play's going to be about, but I'm that much closer to my 2.5 pages for the day. Yet that will have to wait until I've had a little sleep (perchance to dream?)...
more to come. it's late on Halloween and I have a headache from too much candy and i'm far too crabby to get all excited and descriptive about thisplay right now. i will not be eating any sugar for the remainder of the month.
oh, this play is not about skating.
Hello, everyone. This is my third year doing Naplwrimo. I'm happy to be back after taking a year off. Good luck to every playwright, especially first-timers. See you at the finish!
A married couple, Eileen and Rob, scientists studying terraforming. They buy land in the desert, to terraform. They discover that the land -- in the form of a man named Gone -- has plans to terraform them.
That's the title for now. It started as Stranger in Grassy Creek, but Grassy Creek is a real place - not a town but a shopping center - and I don't want to get sued by the owners! :) More importantly, I wanted to establish a fictional place so that I don't get bogged down in literal translation of the place it is based on. PLUS "gap" trumps "creek" thematically for this play in more ways than one. (More on that later!)
Also wanted a name of a place doesn't exist, period, (no Thorny Gaps listed in wikipedia at least), and one that implies challenge, trickiness...maybe "thorny" is a bit too heavy-handed. Might use "stony" instead, but wanting to avoid alliteration and the use of "Stranger" is non-negotiable! At least for now. :)
What I know - so far - is this:
It's the story of Dil McKinney (formerly Mary Dillon McKinney), a female to male transgender man, age 29, returning to the small town in Appalachian NC that he ran away from on the eve of his high school graduation ceremony. He's getting kicked out by his girlfriend, again, when he gets a call from his crazy cousin Carter, the one family member able & willing to track him down, with the news that their grandfather has died and left Dil the family farm. Returning to Thorny Gap is the only way he can keep his estranged sister, Lissa, from taking the farm for herself on the basis that Mary/Dil is "dead".
He's also escaping the "thorny" complications of his life in san francisco, where he's been living since he ran off, making a life & making all kinds a trouble. And he can't help wondering if June - the girl he loved in secret all through high school - is still around - and whether she'll accept him more, or less, now that he's someone she might barely recognize.
So. He goes home. June's there, married and making the best of it but seethingly unhappy underneath. Dil fights the sister over the farm, hooks up with June, finds out Carter is bipolar and self-medicating. Havoc ensues.
It's not a comedy. But not entirely a drama. Going for that tone that is somewhere in between...I hate the word "dramedy" but I guess that's kinda what I want, drama with wryly and absurdly funny moments, a la August Wilson, Tony Kushner, Six Feet Under. I'm a bit terrified that it'll turn into a hokey southern melodrama, but I'm hoping it'll be a fun, smart, dramatic ride. We'll see! Eek this is scary! And exciting. Whoosh. An opportunity. OK. Here goes.
I meant to write this during 2008 NaPlWriMo, but didn't even write 1 word. Saved it for this year.
In the aftermath of a war, husbands are turning up dead. Why is the local midwife assisting in their deaths?
This is my first time doing NaPlWriMo, and this is my first time writing a play. In addition I'm not a native English speaker and still write in English. This is probably gonna be the worst play ever cause I have no idea about anything, but I'm sort of doing it for school and writing plays is way more fun than writing essays (I guess). I'm pretty excited. And scared.
Divide By Zero is a comedy-ish something where everyone is gay and no one wants to admit it. It's not gonna make much sense, but it IS going to have a bunch of awkward situations. We'll see what happens. :D
To kick -off Naplwrimo 2009 in style, I offer you our first weekly "Rhino Burst" . Rhino Bursts* are written specifically for you by people we deem worthy of rallying Rhinos thanks to the magic of their words. If you are still on the fence about whether you should do Naplwrimo, this week's "call to arms" will surely help you make up your mind. Thank you Aaron Riccio for writing such a heartfelt piece to get us started on the right computer key!
*A burst is the sound that an adult rhino makes, though it is barely audible to human ears. A baby rhino on the other hand makes a squeak.
I’m not a playwright. Given the deleted first drafts of this rhino burst, that’s probably a good thing. (I compared plays to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. You know, because “there’s no wrong way”?) So I can’t really extemporize as to how one goes about writing a play—mine always seemed to involve giant, overly intellectual hot dogs seeking out familial resolutions in abandoned mineshafts haunted by racist Native American spirits. And but so then (to pull inspiration from another writer’s rhythms, which I recommend) there’s the whole parenthetical point I just made: that is, there is no right way.
Instead, like a well-read zombie chasing brains for their knowledge rather than their soft, fleshy delectables, what I can infect you with is why you should write a play. You know, for me, the critic haunting the other side of the footlights, or more appropriately, the Hungry Audience. (By the way, I assume by the fact that you’ve read this far—that you’ve visited this site at all—that you actually have something to say.) And the reason you should write a play is thus: because it allows us, with far less effort than reading and far more intimacy than film, to experience a different world, to see through another’s eyes, and no matter what you choose to show us, there is nothing more necessary than that. We are nothing if we forget how to listen.
Fearing structure, logic, plot, character, you put the pen down. You hesitate. You don’t kill your darlings, you abort them. You’ll quote how it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, and then you’ll deny those raw feelings the chance to appear on page—where they will resonate with someone—because you have doubts, or worse, fears of what others—critics, perhaps—may say. (Hopefully, in reading this asphyxiatedly purple prose, you’ll realize that those fears are rather silly. We’re in the same boat as you, except that we’ve somehow convinced you to do all the paddling.)
But those feelings are what make it all the more important that you write. Because now you’ve got subtext—even if you drown it in cluttered metaphors, stretched allegory, inconsistent characters, whatever. You’ve got truth, and you can always go back and dig that out of a first draft. Better still, you can have it read, or you can stage it, and actually see what’s coming out. Best of all, you can share that moment—completely human in its incompleteness—with an audience.
And that’s important. In this community, you hear a constant caterwauling about how audiences aren’t going to the theater anymore: it’s not true. They’re just waiting to hear the voice that appeals to them, be it the one that’s fresh with the eagerness of the slam-poetry beats of a new generation; the iambic melodies of the old; the slow, measured pauses of the meditative moderns; the cathartic screams of the Greeks; or, as likely as any of those, yours. Syllogistically, if they’re not going to the theater, it’s because nothing there appeals to them. Nothing there is yours, or at least, it’s not this new play of yours. Therefore, they’re not going to the theater because your play isn’t there.
And you’re not alone, either, which is what thrills me most about new theater. Your text is going to trigger certain things in actors—especially if they’re Method-trained—and it’s going to spark the imaginations of directors, especially if you’re vague, as they resolve the play in their eyes. I remember watching, through a night-vision camera projected on stage, a man dressed in a bearskin, nursing on a girl’s breast. I remember a man deliberately loading, aiming, and firing an air gun; the other man painfully reacting and then returning the favor: the cycle continues. I remember a man covered in condiments, smeared with desserts and relishing in relish, denouncing humanity.
We are talking about a “play” after all, and what is that but some freeing connection to our minds, the parts of us that we keep locked up in day jobs and closeted within social conventions. More importantly—because there is some work involved—we’re talking about something new, and this is the crux of why you should write. Because if you don’t, nobody else will. Because your voice is unique: even if it sounds like someone else, you’re still the one who wrote it. Because you’re giving far more to the community than you realize, even if it’s just in providing the fuel to the fire, if it’s just reminding the audience, or a peer, that—holy hell—you’re allowed to do that. (Because time and again, we forget.)
Because every way is the right way. So I take it back, I can extemporize as to how one goes about writing a play: you do it by picking up a pen and being honest, even if that’s simply to be honestly silly. And I take the other part back, too. At least for this November, I am a playwright.
Aaron Riccio was forged into a theater critic after being raised amongst and exposed to the endless possibilities of New York City. He has written for Show Business Weekly and Time Out New York and works as the editor for Theater Talk’s New Theater Corps. He proudly prowls the off-off-Broadway beat, regularly posting reviews for his site, That Sounds Cool, and would love to see your play.
HAPPY NAPLWRIMO 2009 !
LET'S DO THIS!
Hey fellow Rhinos,
For my first time writing for NAPLWRIMO I'm writing a play called "Related Strangers." It follows a girl who, due to a family tragedy, is forced to spend time with her estranged extended family. I'm hoping it turns into a black comedy, but as even the best of writers know, your play can sometimes have other ideas on where to go.
I'm really excited and looking forward to spending a month writing this play and seeing the other great plays on this site. See you on the interweb!
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