I have a thing for boats. Some girls are into cars. Some girls are into rock stars. For me, it’s boats. Mind you, I’m not impressed by a zillion dollar floating condo. My preference is more environmentally friendly.
I like sailboats. I like their lines. I like that they’re quiet. You gotta have skill on a sailboat. You can’t just stand behind the sails and blow into them. I know, I tried.
What does a sailboat have to do with playwriting? Is a play like a sailboat?
I don’t see a play as like a sailboat. I see a play as the boat, the wind, the water, the skipper, the crew. The play is all. When I write a play, I don’t just think about the characters, the story, the theatricality. I think about the whole universe of it.
On a boat, one little change can alter your whole experience. You can fiddle with the jib or the wind shifts, and suddenly you’re going faster or suddenly you’re not moving at all. In a play, one little world, one gesture, one prop or piece of furniture, a color, a detail, any small change, and suddenly it’s a whole new play. It might be going where you want it to go or not, but it definitely will be an interesting ride.
Abby Sunderland was in the news a lot last week. She was the sixteen year old who attempted to sail around the world solo. She had to abandon her boat, Wild Eyes, after a storm took out the mast and rigging in the Indian Ocean.
She was sad about leaving her boat behind until the Captain of the fishing boat that took her on said: Is no good to worry about the boat. Is just a boat, you is safe. You should not think about the past.
A boat is just a boat. A play is just a play. A play happens in the present; then it is over.
This blog happened this week. Now it’s over.
See you all in August.