Playwriting

Hello, friends!  Sorry, it’s been a while since I’ve posted something.  Between college and life, blogging gets pushed to the back-burner.  But here I am!  And I’m going to talk about playwriting.

As I’m sure you all know, I love writing novels.  That’s what I’ve talked about the most on here.  And then I’ve shared a little bit of poetry.  And now I’m moving on to playwriting.  I’m currently taking a playwriting class and it has taught me a lot about demonstrating true character relationships and dialogue.  Playwriting has become a very free way to create characters while not worrying about describing the setting, movements, or emotions.  Theatre has been one of my passions for a long time, and playwriting allows everyone to experience the same story while creating their own sense of the world.  Everyone pictures something different and that’s okay, as long as the characters stay true to who they are.

Playwriting has also taught me that not everything is going to be your best work, and that’s okay.  None of us can be perfect all the time.  But as long as we write something – as long as we do something – we are creating something that is truly ours.  Something that can be shared.  Something that can be cherished.  Something that might change a life, a perspective.

Well, below is my most recent scene.  The title is Thanksgiving:

~~

ABBY: 22, JACOB’S fiancé.  She is dressed in simple pajamas, her hair is in a messy-bun.

JACOB: 25, ABBY’S fiancé.  He is wearing pajama pants and reading glasses.

BILLY: 8, ABBY’S half-brother.  He is dressed in snow boots, snow pants, winter coat, gloves, and hat.

JACOB’S bedroom.  There are bedside tables with table lamps on both sides at the head of the bed.  There is an analog clock on JACOB’S side.

It’s the middle of the night and the ticking of a clock can be heard.  ABBY is sleeping while JACOB is sitting up in bed reading a book. Both bedside lamps are on, filling the area with a warm light.  ABBY suddenly screams.

 

ABBY: NO!

JACOB: (Shaking her awake) Abby, baby, wake up.  It’s okay. It’s okay.  It was only a dream.

ABBY: (ABBY takes in her surroundings) It seemed so real.

JACOB: It was just a dream.

ABBY: I could even smell it.

JACOB: What did it smell like?

ABBY: Like Thanksgiving, only when my mom burned the turkey.

JACOB: Thanksgiving?

ABBY: Yeah.  It was always an interesting holiday in my house.

JACOB: I know.

ABBY: We never had a lot to be thankful for.

JACOB: Never?

ABBY: No.  I mean, my dad left us.  My mom remarried – to an asshole.  My baby brother became her favorite, so…

JACOB: I’m sorry.

ABBY: Yeah.

Beat

JACOB: What happened?  Besides the smells, what was it like?

ABBY: It was dark.  And cold. You know those dementors in Harry Potter and how they sucked out all the happiness?

JACOB: Yeah.

ABBY: Well, it was like that.  

JACOB: What else?

ABBY: There was this void between us – you and me, I mean.  We were standing there, but there was nothing between us.  No feelings. No idea who we were. We were looking at each other but not really seeing.

JACOB: I can see you now.

ABBY: (not hearing JACOB) I reached out to touch you, but you weren’t there.  It was like a hologram or something. I could see you, but I couldn’t touch you.

JACOB: I can touch you now.

ABBY: (still not hearing or feeling JACOB) I opened my mouth to talk to you, but nothing came out.  It felt as if a rope was around my throat, but when I looked down, it was you.  Your fingers, tight around my throat.

JACOB: Abby –

ABBY: I tried to pry your hands away, but couldn’t.  They were like metal. When I looked back up at your face, it was all distorted.  It was you, but not really. Different eyes. Dark. Violent. Inhuman.

JACOB: (Comforting) Abby –

ABBY: Then you opened your mouth.

JACOB: I did?

ABBY: (ABBY nods) You screamed.  It wasn’t one of those ear piercing screams that makes you cover your ears.  It was silent, except it echoed throughout your mind and makes you feel like your head is going to explode.  I tried to comfort you, but you had receded into the darkest corner. It was just you, screaming.

JACOB: Abby, I’m okay.

ABBY: But you weren’t.  You collapsed, still screaming.  It was as if you were in pain, curling and writhing in the middle of…nowhere.  That was the worst part. Seeing you like that and doing nothing.

JACOB: It’s not your fault.

ABBY: But it is!  It is my fault!  I tried. Believe me, I tried!  But I couldn’t move. My feet wouldn’t move!  I was stuck, frozen, watching. In the cold. I could see my breath, it was so cold.  It felt like winter. (Beat) He always liked winter.

JACOB: I know.

As BILLY enters the lights shift to signify a flash-back.  BILLY is carrying a ball and begins playing with it.

ABBY: But I didn’t.  I would always stay by the living room window and watch him.  He was always so happy.

JACOB: I remember.

ABBY: He didn’t care that he always played alone.  He was happy in his own little world. Never listening.

JACOB: It’s in the past, Abby.

ABBY: But why didn’t he listen?  He should’ve listened.

BILLY kicks the ball across the stage.  He looks tentatively at it, then at ABBY.  BILLY walks over to the ball. There is the sound of a car horn and squealing tires.  The lights on BILLY blackout as the sound of a car windshield breaking can be heard. BILLY exits during the blackout.  Lights go back to normal.

ABBY: (crying) Why didn’t he listen?

JACOB: (Soothing) Sshh, it’s okay.

ABBY: He should’ve listened!  The idiot should’ve listened!

JACOB: It’s okay.

ABBY: And I just sat there!  Why did I just sit there?  Why didn’t I go to him? Why didn’t I save him?

JACOB: There’s nothing you could’ve done.

ABBY: But I could’ve tried.  I could’ve tried.

Beat.  JACOB hugs ABBY as she cries, rocking back and forth.

ABBY: (when she’s stopped crying) Do you remember?

JACOB: Mmm?

ABBY: The sound of his laugh.  It was like a small kitten.  And his face would light up. Listening to him babble on and on could make you feel better in an instant.  It was like the sun came out.

JACOB: I remember.

ABBY: No matter what was going on, he could make you forget.

JACOB: Yeah.

ABBY: He was so carefree.  He didn’t care. He would wake up at the crack of dawn just because he could.  He loved the sky.

JACOB: Clouds were his favorite.

ABBY: Yeah.  He could watch them for hours.

JACOB: It made babysitting easy.

ABBY: But getting him to fall asleep was so hard.  He hated the dark.

JACOB: Remember how we bought those silly glow-in-the-dark stars for his birthday?  They were the first present we bought together.

ABBY: We never got the chance to put them up.

JACOB: No.  But do you remember when he unwrapped them?  He was so excited. He showed them to everyone.

ABBY: He got excited over the little things.  The stars. The snow.

JACOB: The sun.

ABBY: Yeah.  (Beat)  You know he didn’t even scream?

JACOB: No.

ABBY: He didn’t make any noise at all.  He just laid there, lifeless. Beautiful.  And I couldn’t reach him. (Pause) I hated him for so long.  He stole all the attention.  He was mom’s little china doll.  I couldn’t wait until I was out, away from him.  From them. Now all I want is to have him back.

JACOB: I know.

(Beat)

ABBY: I hate Thanksgiving.

JACOB: I know.

The ticking of a clock can be heard.  JACOB reaches across ABBY and turns off her bedside lamp, and then his.  Blackout.

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