A Ruined Maid

Problems to have

I notice this trend right after I have something published or about to be published, my productivity seems to go down. I spend more time on Twitter, Facebook, forums, and groups. I’m sure my publisher loves hearing this LOL I do strive to get something published every year (and so far have been successful, ALLIE was made available in 2012, TOM in 2013 [both from Heartland Play Publishers] and now BASED ON THE… hitting shelves in 2014) and 2013 was a banner year for me production wise (SUNDAY DINNER was performed in NYC, THE WAY OUT WEST GANG RIDES AGAIN was a hit in Meade, KS). But I get into this rut, where I don’t want to blog, I don’t want write, I just want to take a break.

 

But for someone striving to make it as a professional writer, until I hit it big, I don’t know if I can afford to “take a break”. Even my “playwright hero” Neil Simon strived to have a new production every year for a long time. I struggle to crank out some 10-minute plays and a one-act and he was cranking out 3-Act plays. Maybe it was his training with Sid Ceaser that helped?

It’s not like there is no shortage of ideas, right now my mind is awash with ideas. A 10-minute monodrama on Charles Sternberg (an early pioneer in palentology and part of the famed BONE WARS), a 10-minute play on Charles Wilbour (an early Egyptolgist), a 10 minute monodrama on the legendary Pope Joan, a 10-minute LGBTQ monodrama, complete my duet S:he Said (a twist on Little Red Riding Hood with a Rashomon influence), complete my full length The Three Challenges of Puss In Boots, expand The Way Out West Gang from a short one-act (25 mins) to a longer one-act (40 mins), expand my noir thriller 10 Minutes To Live from 20 minutes to 40-60 mins, find homes from some of my other plays, and I saw two opportunities just today for 10-minute Children’s plays. I have no idea what I want to write, how I want to write it or where to go!

Mystery, political, thriller, adventure, fairy tale, true life? 

Lots of ideas and yet…no motivation to write. I guess I just need to buckle down and WRITE and decide what happens, happens.

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And Now A Word From Our Sponsor

Well, I don’t really have a sponsor per se, but  I am proud to announce OFFICALLY (although if you listened to my interview on Chatting With Sherri, I mentioned it) that a collection of my short plays (10 minutes or less) will be published by Black Box Theater Publishing Company.

These plays (THE REUNION, BLINK, THE MYSTERIOUS CASE OF LOT 249, & MIRIAM AND ISA) are all monodrams (for one actor) or duets (for two actors) and are adaptations. These plays were designed for and are perfect for young actors, particularly those in competitive speech and drama.

Now, for the cover reveal!

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The Monday W.I.P.: A Reunion

Last week, I talked about procrastination and how it was affecting my work. This week, I actually have work to report on, a new ten minute play called A REUNION.

Writing more ten-minute plays is one of my goals this year. I stated back in early September, that I wanted to write one new ten-minute play a month. At the end of the “year” I would have twelve original works that could be performed in one night (120 minutes approximately). Imagine something like ALMOST MAINE, which is a full length play that incorporates a series of vignettes all focused around one town.

I don’t have a “theme” for my year of ten minute plays nor am I looking for one. I like to see how a theme develops over the course of writing instead of forcing my writing into a theme that it may or may not fit into.

So what does this have to do with anything? Well Today is the first of October and I am happy to report that i have written, not my first ever, but my first play in this twelve month experiment.

Entitled A REUNION, it is an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s A RUINED MAID.A RUINED MAID is a poem that Hardy wrote almost entirely in dialogue. Due to this feature, the poem lends itself very well to drama in my opinion, but has never really been dramatized (to my knowledge) outside of Seymour Barab’s 1981 opera skit of the same name. I’m not suggesting I’m breaking new ground here, far from it, just a wonder why it has never been done.

My version is updated, with characters named Melia (from the original poem) and Martha, who meet by chance at a small bistro in a large, unnamed city. Melia isn’t a prostitute or a gentleman’s mistress as it is suggested in Hardy’s original work, but rather a woman whom society views as “ruined” in another way.

Here is just a peek at Reunion.

                                                                           

                                   ACT I                                   

                                   Scene 1                                 

                    At rise we see the outdoor seating area of a small     
                    bistro or cafe in a large city. A wrought iron         
                    fence surrounds the dining area along with a bench     
                    on the far SL side. Several tables are all on the      
                    patio, but all are vacant save one. MELIA sits         
                    alone at this table, sipping a coffee. Melia is a      
                    young woman, in her mid 20s, with very short hair.     
                    She has piercings (maybe her lip or eyebrow or         
                    "snake bites"), is very "rock and roll or maybe a      
                    "hipster". She is seated in front of a small           
                    computer (a Mac obviously), hard at work.              

                    MARTHA enters from SR. She is a contrast to Melia,     
                    although the same age. Where as Melia is clad very     
                    much in urban hip fashion, Martha’s dress is quite     
                    the opposite. Cheap cloths, made from cheap            
                    fabrics. She has long hair compared to Melia’s         
                    short. Where one is blonde, the other is brunette.     
                    Where one is short, the other is tall. Martha is       
                    clutching some plastic shopping bags, clearly          
                    labeled MACY’S, along with her purse with all she      
                    has. She is clearly afraid of something. Is it the     
                    big city? Is it being alone? Or is she simply lost     
                    and overwhelmed? She pauses and looks around           
                    again, then lets out a big sigh. She tucks her         
                    bags and purse under her arm and struggles with        
                    unfolding a map, but a wind gust comes up and          
                    blows the map free from her hands. She starts to       
                    chase it, but one of her Macy’s bags begins to         
                    slip free from her arm and she stops to grab it        
                    and watches as her map flies away.                     

          MARTHA                                                           
               oh Fu...dge!                                                

                    She sighs and sits down, dejected. The bags she        
                    had been so fiercely protecting, she places at her     
                    feet, no longer even caring about them.                

                    Melia has been watching this, with a bemused           
                    expression, but as soon as Martha speaks, Melia’s      
                    expression changes. A confused look. Almost asking     
                    herself silently "do I know this girl?" Melia          
                    leans forward.                                         

          MELIA                                                            
               Martha? Martha Kunstler?                                    

                    Martha looks up, confused and looks to the strange     
                    woman seated behind her. Her eyes wide.                

                                                           (CONTINUED)
          CONTINUED:                                              2.       

          MARTHA                                                           
               Melia Hardy!                                                

                    Melia forgets her coffee and her work, Martha          
                    forgets her fears and her bags and they embrace,       
                    reaching over the railing to each other and            
                    embracing.                                             

          MARTHA                                                           
               How long has it been? 5 years?                              

                    Melia smiles, her eyes flashing a little as she        
                    does the mental math.                                  

          MELIA                                                            
               Almost, graduation was the last time I saw anyone back      
               home.                                                       

          MARTHA                                                           
               You haven’t been home in 5 years?                           

          MELIA                                                            
               why would I go home, there was never anything for me        
               there?                                                      

          MARTHA                                                           
               Didn’t you miss your friends or your family? You know I     
               see your mom every Sunday...                                

                    But before Martha can continue, Melia cuts her         
                    off.                                                   

          MELIA                                                            
               They kicked me out Marti