Monday, January 5, 2009

Ideas in Action (or, rather, a new play)(or rather, a regretful reflection on how nothing actually gets done)

It is not often that I actually act on an idea. I have playwrighting journals from time past full of interesting news stories and factoids, things that I at one time that would "make a great play" only to never actually use them for anything. But the other night, I was watching 20/20 while baking some bread. The episode was on "extreme motherhood" and was comprised of portraits of women who did or are doing what would be considered unusual things wrt being a mom. One example is the woman who still breast feeds her eight year old daughter (ew!). The story that really jumped out at me, that I couldn't tear myself away from, was the woman who purchased several of these realistic-looking baby dolls called "Reborns" and carries them around, hoping to get attention from passersby about her "baby." When no one notices her baby, she goes back home feeling a little sad.

Yikes. That is very weird.

The woman does not have her own children, and when asked why she didn't adopt, mumbled off something about the costs and traveling to pick up the child in the foreign country. But she's perfectly willing to pay several hundred or thousands of dollars for a plastic doll that is baked in an oven, a plastic doll that will never grow or be able to interact with her or in any way fulfill what I would consider to be a healthy parent/child relationship.

I pretty much took this and ran with it. Fast and furiously and briefly (the play is only 4 pages long). The play, which is still untitled, also incorporates a bit of the idea of the desire for "truth" and all that, that I mentioned wanting to use somehow in my last post.

It's a strange little piece, which I always say about anything I do, which I think is a defensive thing and maybe I should cut it out. There is this sense of being somehow off, though, whenever I think that I cannot possibly ever write the "great American" anything, since my perspective on life and on what makes for interesting theater and etc is pretty far removed from what seems to be the common perspective. So I gird myself against any possible negative reaction by saying "It's kinda weird, but. . ."

Anyway, the play. The fake baby makes an appearance as does a gibberish speaking person who apparently speaks the "truth" as does a girl who shifts into a monster back into a little girl. I'd post the script up here but that gives me pause. Not that I am a big copyright person, not that I believe that this play is my baby (ha) or anything, but it does sting when you have an idea and suddenly, it's coming from someone else and not you.

I feel very much back on track in the writing sense, in the sense of putting stuff down on the page. But the next step after actually acting on an idea is completing the idea, and that's where I fall behind. I have so many projects that I've completed in a writing sense but haven't actually done anything with--TC/Ariadne, Suppliants, that novel, and now this newest series of micro plays (er, all my plays are micro). And I guess that what happens in my regular life as well, it's a minefield of briefly explored interests--Swedish, German, I don't want to dwell on this anymore. The problem is having too many interests, too many ideas, I'm never able to settle down for too terribly long on just one.

And this all brings me back to my quasi-New Year's resolution--to make a list of ideas and actually finish them. Not to just scribble down a play in a coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon, pat myself on the back, and then skip off to something else. But actually to make something theatrical and concrete out of these projects--take them to where they were meant to go.