Way down at the bottom of my My Writing page, there’s some jabber about my stage plays. Along with a staged performance of one of my audio plays, you can see that, each year, I’ve been writing scripts for a local short-play festival. Rather than end up with a mess of short, unrelated plays, though, I’ve been returning to a bus station as my setting — and working my way toward a longer work comprised of five, interwoven playlets.
Almost, Maine, by John Cariani, is a full-length play that works on the same principle. Perhaps this “composite play” is a trend. Perhaps it’s a sign of diminishing attention spans. Either way, it makes for an interesting production. I hope.
The finished play is to be titled Depot People. I like the sound of that. Also, while depot and station are pretty much synonymous in American English, I read somewhere that, in British English, the people wait at the station while the buses are stored in the depot. In a sense, my characters feel less like waiting human beings and more like stored machines as announcements about delayed buses are heard over and over and over. As one character says, “The exception to the rule is the bus that arrives on time.”
Is this, then, a sign that I’ve entered Theater of the Absurd territory à la Waiting for Godot? No. I’ve just waited for a lot of delayed buses.
I bring this up here on my blog because I’m happy to report that I recently completed another installment, in which a character from Playlet 2 meets a character from Playlet 3 to form Playlet 4. That makes it look I’m very organized, doesn’t it? No. I wrote Playlet 5 first, then Playlet 3, then Playlet 2 — and now Playlet 4. This means I only have Playlet 1 to write. This was not by design. It wasn’t until starting work on the second piece (i.e., Playlet 3) that I had an inkling that this could become something longer.
I’m hoping to not wait a year before finishing Playet 1, however. I teach in the English Department of a university, and the head of the Theater Department across the street heard that I dabble in playwrighting. He wants me to actually finish one so that the Theater students can workshop it and perform it.
And wouldn’t that be neat?