Discussion Writing a Play

KENT
I want to show perfect beauty in this play. I want to comment on what it means to people. Why people value it.

BILLING
The stage isn’t meant for beautiful things.

KENT
The stage needs beautiful things.

BILLING
It’s impossible. Everyone in the audience sees a different angle. Are they all supposed to be beautiful? On our budget? The stage is real, the stage is intimate. Beauty is an ideal, better set for animation, or film that can be edited to the point that it is animation.

KENT
But the stage is fleeting. The stage is a single moment, suspended in memory, not to be accessed again.

BILLING
Unless we turn it into unedited, flawed film.

KENT
And that is the perfect beauty that the crazed chase after, isn’t it? Those moments they will never relive. If I can show perfect beauty in such a fleeting moment, it will be a proper use of the medium as well as a conquering of its weaknesses.

BILLING
What a cruel being you are. You want the most perfect, desirable thing to become only an imperfect memory. You’re confusing perfect beauty with the idea of beauty. The real moments that people chase the most are not so beautiful – memory cultivates them, and hypes them too far.

KENT
So I don’t need perfect beauty to create the idea of perfect beauty.

BILLING
Perfect beauty is not something the stage can portray. Reality, though, we can try. Show people how what is real can be beautiful. Real beauty, true beauty, may work where perfect beauty does not.

KENT
Do I really want to show people a perfect beauty, or do I want to tell myself it exists?

BILLING
Now you have it. Art is our way of saying “Here’s how you can break out of these chains I’m in.”

KENT
Some art’s honest.

BILLING
Of course, it’s just our way.

KENT
Are we doomed?

BILLING
(pauses for a moment)
I think it’s optimistic.

KENT
How?

BILLING
Well, like… At least you know. You know what you’re doing wrong.

KENT
You know that you know but you also know knowing does nothing. What do I even make now?

BILLING
Well, here’s a hypothetical. You want to see perfect beauty. Maybe it’s out of a need for companionship, maybe it’s a desire to reunite with nature and get out more, maybe you just want to appreciate the arts a little more like you used to.

KENT
These all sound like they could be true. I’m glad it’s not just the first one.

BILLING
So instead of making a play to prey on others who have that hangup, make a play that accepts the impossibility. Embue your art with the lesson you want to learn and not the struggle to learn it.

KENT
So then the learning, the thought process, I take it all out?

BILLING
Some people like that sort of thing.

KENT
Then what’s left?

BILLING
Life. Living. By writing the life you want, you take a step towards living the life you want.

KENT
If I write about rich and famous people…

BILLING
I was too vague. If you write with your values rather than writing about your values, it’s more likely you actually hold those values.

KENT
I see. Someone might appreciate it if I wrote about the ways I’ve learned and the things I’ve come to value. But if I do it for myself, I can’t advance. Didactic work has meaning, but I wasn’t writing it for them. I wasn’t looking at this work thinking “This could mean something to someone.” I was just satisfying my own cravings.

BILLING
Pick your terror. Write for others, and have the courage to do your work the greatest amount of justice so someone other than yourself will like it. Or write for yourself, and have the courage to avoid self-indulgence.

KENT
What if I’m still figuring it out? What if I have to write it all down because I don’t have any answers, or any lesson plan?

BILLING
If we’re lucky, that’s fine too. If we’re really lucky, maybe that’s where we get some of the best art.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s