“It’s a Local Production”- part 7

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In Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4 and Part 5 and Part 6, our community theater costumer Margy, is writing a play.  Seetha, the director, has been rehearsing another social justice play, Bronx Zoo.  But the playwright just got a better offer, and this is Margy’s chance to shine.

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“It’s a Local Production”

SAFARI, a One-Act Play

A black-box stage, house lights.

Two chairs sit center stage.

GIRAFFE, in full costume, sits in the chair on the left, holding his head.  He turns the head around and around, studying it.  He is silent. He peers at it, picks some lint off of it, holds it up facing toward him, shakes his head, and dusts it off some more.  Holds it up again, hands spread out inside the head, as if imagining the costume head on his own head as the audience would see it.

COYOTE enters stage right.  She is fashionable, with an upscale haircut, and a confident bearing.  She’s wearing a fashionable business dress, red, with a jacket, and black high-heel shoes.

COYOTE:  You’re never going to get more out of that head.

GIRAFFE: (mournfully) I know.

COYOTE: (going over to stand by Giraffe, empty chair between them)  You have to be tough on the costumer.  Demanding!  You have to tell them you won’t stand for it, you have to have a better head.  (Surveys the audience.)  That’s what I always do.

GIRAFFE: (looking up at COYOTE)  Does it help?

COYOTE:  (looking at GIRAFFE)  Sure!  Of course it does!

GIRAFFE: Where’s your costume?

COYOTE: At the cleaners.  I think.  (She sits.)

MUSKOX enters stage left.  She is an older woman, a wise-woman-type, who is also in costume, carrying her head.  Her costume looks good, noticeably better than GIRAFFE’s somewhat worn-out costume.  She crosses downstage, stands facing the audience.  She ceremonially puts on her head, fully costumed now, and turns the head gracefully from side to side, as if introducing herself to the audience.

COYOTE:  (to MUSKOX) There’s no one out there.

MUSKOX:  (from inside the costume, in a deep booming James-Earl-Jones-style voice)  That’s when it’s most important to be in your part.  When there’s no one watching.  (She turns to face COYOTE.)  Otherwise, you’re just faking it.  (She stamps her feet one at a time, toro-like, and lowers her head menacingly.)

GIRAFFE looks startled.  COYOTE looks angry.  Lights out.

Lights up.  Chairs are empty, one is knocked over as if someone left in a hurry.  STAGE MANAGER enters Stage Left, holding a clipboard and a new GIRAFFE head.

STAGE MANAGER:  (yelling)  Hey!  Where is everybody!  This is dress rehearsal.  Everyone to the stage!  Full costume!  (CAST gathers.) . . .

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The play was a success.  Two curtain calls. Seetha even asked me to “hold the mental space” to write another play next year.  The theme, while not hitting people over the head, was effective:  the futility of classism, racism, and elitism.  Stage Manager (modeled after Molly, played by Molly) had the final line:  “On Safari, everyone’s the same.”

(the end?)

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Well, Margy got her chance to be an author, and to see her work performed and enjoyed by an audience.  I would like to take a moment to thank you for being in my audience.  Even when one writes for creative expression, the interaction with a readers makes a huge difference.  1) I learn so much from readers’ observations and reactions!  2) I feel connected to other writers, instead of isolated.  3) I gradually gain faith in my ability to touch other people’s emotions and experiences through writing.  Thank you for being part of my story!

What is your opinion – do you think there should be an epilogue?  Or does the story seem like it’s over?  How do you know when your stories, or poems, or essays, are finished?

16 thoughts on ““It’s a Local Production”- part 7

  1. Beautiful story Theresa! We enjoyed being in the audience and watching it unfold. We feel the story revealed itself and came to a great conclusion and a thought provoking message to walk away with. What we enjoyed also is how there was room to bring it back again. It is a great question about endings and left us thinking about the book being written here. When does one end the story? It seems with many authors where the books become movies its like when the budget runs out they end it. We aren’t so sure we like that conclusion but then again they are successful in what they are doing, lol. We certainly can relate to your thoughts about reader feedback and not wanting to feel isolated.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Where to end. That is a really intriguing question. Years ago I used to strive for a “puzzle-piece-solution” ending to my stories. Neatly wrapping up everything, maybe with twist or surprise revelation, leaving nothing unanswered. But nowadays I’m enjoying exploring a more nuanced ending. Like instead of a big splashy finish that ties everything up, perhaps a shift in the perception of the main character will do. Or a bit of hopeful uplift without everything being completely resolved. When I think about it, we are looking for a connection with our reader. Yes, we want to tell a good story, we want the reader to care about the characters and to keep reading. But more and more, I’m realizing what I hope for is to feel a connection with the reader, and they with us, through the writing or creative expression I’m doing. I think of both your writing and your visual expression (photographs and videos), and I realize – you are doing that as well! Viewing Audrey’s photos and film makes me feel I’m there. And in that, I’m connected to you both, along with the folks you visited, and along with other readers of your blog. That can be very satisfying. It’s a thrill to feel connected!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is great reading this Theresa because we were just reflecting this morning on what you shared yesterday and the link. We are learning what you are saying so wonderfully and that is It is all about the connections. What a process this is and we are so blessed to be connected with you as we grow from your intuitiveness and guidance!!!!!! Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think an epilogue would add to the story. I think the best stories are when the reader draws their own conclusions with the ending as it is. Moral endings invite the reading to process and go from there.

    I enjoyed spending time with the characters especially Giraffe. Coyote was high maintenance like a few people I know. Your characters were appealing and believable.

    I agree with you about needing the connection. Even the briefest interaction sometimes is just what is needed to get the writer on track. Like for instance, the quotes came at a good time for you. The quotes helped me get pass the hurdle I was stuck at. Writers are really one big family, embracing a common bond… the love of words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lyn, thank you for your thoughtful message! It makes me happy that you found Giraffe appealing. And about Coyote, something in me wants to come back to her story, maybe in the future. I wonder: what was she doing in Community Theater? She seemed to have more important things to do. 🙂

      I am so thrilled that I found your blog and that we are “blog-friends.” Reading your work makes me feel much less alone! And, you’re right, there are often serendipitous overlaps from other people’s work, that come up and appear at the right time to help move us forward. It’s really helpful. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Is the story over in your head? That is the question 🙂 If it is not, give us more. I think isolation is so necessary for a writer but that said I have also come think of the blogging world as a need if only to help us grow – as you point out – with each other and pick up new ways of thinking. I do feel that when I read about the voices in your head.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good question about the story. I was thinking sometime in the future I might revisit Coyote’s story. I was just mentioning in another comment that she makes me wonder: why is she in community theater? She has so many other things to do. So, we may see another episode featuring Coyote in the future! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the ending. You did wonderfully with this story. I normally prefer open endings… I do think all endings are open anyway, like life. An end of a chapter leads to the new chapter but when the book ends, does it really end. There is always room to keep going, but sometimes, we leave the story to continue in our head. That way, the readers carry the story for longer. I’ve realized, with happy endings, the story leaves me more quickly than with a tragic or open ending. But of course, this is all subjective and a matter of preference. As far as the story and your writing go, you’ve really done a fantastic job. Thank you for sharing with us. Inspirational! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds like some people I know. 😃 And that’s perfectly fine. We’ve seen a ‘Minions’ movie from ‘Despicable Me’ and even ‘Joey’ from ‘Friends’. Looking forward to Coyote shining. 😊🤗💖

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Bravo Theresa!! I would call for an encore but I agree with Lyn – this ending is perfect. I am already imagining that Margy is standing a little taller and prouder and has a dream career in the theater!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tami! I think she is all set. Today I was reading in the newspaper about a new play being performed in Seattle, which is an interview with Einstein and a journalist. When I read the name of the playwright in the article, I thought, huh, I wonder what that feels like to have your play performed? I think that feeling came out of my “Margy” story…!

      Liked by 1 person

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