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  1. JanCarol

    Making Activist Art

    On BlueBalu's thread, BTDT wrote: OMG B! I just started a play tonight! I was inspired by attending a theatre festival this weekend, and so many of the plays addressed real issues, like relationships, inner demons, and feminism and taking control of your life. In one play, Florence Nightingale told her cohorts to "stop taking the pills, they are only meant to control you!" (and she, Maggie Thatcher, and Jane Austen escaped the asylum!) I thought I would start a play about withdrawal. I've never written a play before, so I will need to get help from some experts, but I can visualize how it will be. It would be best to condense it into a very potent 1-act play, and might be a way to get our voices heard in a broader audience. I'm basing the characters on composites of people here - one depressed, one anxious (and abused), one "psychotic" (I call it Emergency), one chronic pain, and an Alto-like character (again, composite, of course). It will show 5 years in these peoples' lives, and at the end, they will meet on the internet and start recovery. It shows the drug rep and the doctor, and I've just written the part where everyone gets their first prescription. The next scene, a year later, people will be manifesting side effects, and get additional prescriptions. The scene after that will be 5 years, and the characters will be on multiple scripts with debilitating effects, but the pseudo-Alto character will have figured out withdrawal, and will be helping the others to take charge of their conditions. They will be talking on the internet - with some of them talking over coffee like we do here in Brisbane. It would be nice if I could bring the emotion that a play like "Love Letters" brings, where the actors read their internet posts aloud, and their stories come alive for all the others listening. The challenge is to make the characters real and engaging, to invoke the caring of the audience, and to present the material without being "preachy." To raise awareness. I have 2 playwright/directors in mind - one did a searing expose of self injury (one of her early works - confronting, not very successful - but it sure had us talking) - and the other has done plays about "encounter groups" and "body dysmorphia / anorexia disorder issues at a lingerie sales party." Both are activist-aware, and while they cannot write the play for me - I must write what I know - they can guide me to getting it published and up and running. And hopefully, making it a good script. And if I'm good enough, perhaps one will consent to cast and direct it for me! Additionally, if it is a one-act, it will tour the "festival circuit," which means that potentially thousands of people could see the performances, where if it's a full-length play, it might never be seen, except maybe at one local theatre. I know nothing about writing plays. But I hope to have a rough draft ready in 2 weeks to show these ladies at the next festival. Btdt - you are a prophet!
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