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The Playwrights Forum > The Art & Craft of Writing > The Playwrights' Gym - Re-writes > Don't Worry, I'll Be Fine

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 Posted: Thu Nov 30th, 2006 09:49 pm
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BillySundae
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Joined: Wed Oct 25th, 2006
Location: Lexington, Kentucky USA
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Mana: 
Okay folks, this is an extensive revision of A LONG WAY DOWN.

A few things of note: 1) the play is INTENDED for middle and high school classroom production and discussion (so it can't contain ANY of the cuss words and some of the informality of teenage speech outside the classroom ususally has); 2) I had my son revise the play extensively to reflect the speech patterns of he and his friends; 3) because Elliott took my request seriously and worked hard on it, he is now a co-author; 4.) the play will be utilized by a friend (who teaches drama at a local high school) in one of her classes during Jan. 2007and Elliott or I (maybe both) will get direct feedback from her students about how to improve it; 5)the play is currently being looked at by a medical doctor and a psychologist for their suggestions about how to improve the play and the study materials; 6) and finally, I originally, posted only about 1/3 of the script. This time the entire script is posted.

Any suggestions you have-- big or small-- will be appriciated.

DON’T WORRY, I’LL BE FINE: A one act play


intended for classroom presentation and discussion


By Bill McCann, Jr. and Elliott McCann




 


SUMMARY



Don’t Worry I’ll be Fine
is a one act play composed of five scenes after each of which there are one or more discussion questions. The topics of the play suicide and suicide prevention are a serious ones that every teen, parent and teacher needs to have an understanding of. This play is not the place that such understanding and discussion should end—it is a beginning. At the end of the play is an appendix with a listing of resources. Additional classroom materials are also available by contacting the authors.


CAST




Chris: a 14 year old freshman


Hannah: Chris’ girlfriend, 15, a cheerleader

Emily: Hannah’s friend, a sophomore

Raul: a 16 year old junior

Mr. Morgan: the principal at Faneuil High School

Inez Warren: Chris’ mother

Setting: Faneuil High School, Boston, MA

Scene 1: Beside an open third floor window, whose sill is about 48" off the floor.

Scene 2: Same place, a few minutes later

Scene 3: Same place, a few minutes later

Scene 3: Mr. Morgan’s office

Scene 4: Mr. Morgan’s office, 15 minutes later

Time: after school



Scene 1: Beside an open third floor window


A bell RINGS. HANNAH is waiting for CHRIS who walks in almost immediately after the curtain rises.


CHRIS

Hey, ready to walk home?

HANNAH

No. I….

CHRIS

Something wrong, Hannah?

HANNAH

No. (pause) Yes.

I don’t….

CHRIS

It’s okay. You can tell me.

HANNAH

Okay. I’m going to walk home with Emily today.

CHRIS

Oh, okay. Well, see you tonight, I guess. We’re still going to the movies, right?

HANNAH

Ummm, about that… This whole thing just isn’t working out…. Emily and me are going to see a movie. I just don’t like you any more.

CHRIS

(lashing out)

You’re breaking up with me because you just don’t like me any more?

HANNAH

Yeah, I am. We went for five months and its getting’ kinda old.

CHRIS

But, I really love you.

HANNAH

We’ll still be friends. Maybe we’ll even go to the mall or something sometime. But for right now— we’re done. I need to go.

EMILY enters.

EMILY

You ready, Hannah?

HANNAH

Yeah, just a sec.

You’re fine, right Chris?.

CHRIS

Yeah.

(in a joking manner)

I’ll prolly jump outta this damn, window. But don’t worry, I’ll be fine all the way down.

HANNAH

Chris, that’s stupid. You don’t really mean that do you? 

EMILY

Let’s go. We’re goin’ by the mall aren’t we?

HANNAH

Yeah. Okay.

Chris, you weren’t serious were you?

CHRIS

(seriously)

You know me. I’m always kidding ‘bout stuff like that.

HANNAH

(hesitating)

Yeah.

Are you ….?

EMILY

He said he’s okay. Let’s go Hannah.

HANNAH

Okay.

EMILY and HANNAH start to exit.

HANNAH

(calling back)

See ya around CHRIS.

EMILY and HANNAH exit.

CHRIS

(glumly)

Yeah… whatever.



After they leave CHRIS sinks down to the floor, and leans his back against the wall. He sits quietly, sadly for a few moments. He gets up and looks out the window. Then CHRIS exits.


END of SCENE 1


For Further Discussion




1. Why does Hannah break up with Chris?

2. Is Hannah kind to Chris in how she breaks up with him? Why or why not?

3. Is there anything that you think Hannah, Chris or Emily should have done differently? Discuss the mistakes each may have made.

4. How do you think Chris feels after Hannah and Emily leave? Why? 

Scene 2: The same window, a few minutes later




RAUL enters, puts down his backpack and looks out the window. Seeing a friend he yells out a greeting to him.


About this time, CHRIS enters with a chair that he places underneath the window sill.

CHRIS

(joking)

Hey, you think I’d die if I jumped out this window?

RAUL

(absent mindedly)

Yeah. Sure.

CHRIS climbs on the chair and starts to climb onto the window sill.

RAUL sees what CHRIS is doing and pulls him off the chair; the chair slides across the stage, safely away from the window.

RAUL

What’s wrong with you? You’ll kill yourself.

CHRIS

Yeah. I know.

RAUL

You’re trying to kill yourself?

CHRIS

Basically… Yeah, I am.

RAUL



How come? 


CHRIS

You ever have a girl friend?

RAUL

No. Why?

CHRIS

Well, you wouldn’t understand then.

RAUL

Try me.

CHRIS

Why do you care?? You barely know me.

RAUL

Man. I can’t stand by and let someone kill themself. (beat)

Tell me about your girlfriend.

CHRIS

Her name’s Hannah Fenton.

RAUL

The cheer leader?

CHRIS

Yeah. 

RAUL

Dang, she’s hot. What happened?

CHRIS

I dunno, she broke up with me. Just a little while ago.

RAUL

Okay. So what does that have to do with you wanting to kill yourself?

CHRIS

We were supposed to be together forever. I love her and I thought she loved me, too.

RAUL

Is that what she said? I don’t love you anymore, Chris.

CHRIS

Yeah.

RAUL

She said, I don’t love you?

CHRIS

No. (beat) Not exactly.

RAUL

So what’d she say?

CHRIS

(flashing anger)



Get off my case, man.


RAUL

Hey!

I just want to help.

CHRIS

Fine.

RAUL

So what did Hannah say?

CHRIS

She said she wanted to break up with me.

RAUL



Why’d she do that?


CHRIS

She just …. decided she didn’t like me any more. But I don’t get why she did it.

RAUL

What did she tell you?

CHRIS

She said we should see other people.

RAUL

Okay. What’s wrong with that?

CHRIS

Well, I don’t want to date other people. I love Hannah.

RAUL

Well, do you like any other girls?

CHRIS

Yeah. There’s one girl I wouldn’t mind going out with.

CHRIS smiles.

RAUL

So, now you can ask her out. You can ask her to go to the movies with you. Or to Porazzo Rink.

CHRIS

I hadn’t thought of that.

RAUL

Well, think about it.

CHRIS

I don’t even know if she likes me though.

RAUL

Don’t worry. It’ll all work out.

CHRIS

Maybe you’re right.

RAUL

I KNOW I’m right. 

CHRIS

(with a smile in his voice)

Yeah. You might be.

RAUL



You feeling better?


CHRIS

Yeah. Thanks man.

RAUL

By the way, I’m Raul.

CHRIS

Thanks Raul, I’m Chris MacIntosh. 

End of Scene 2 


For further discussion




1. Does it make sense that Chris would attempt suicide after Hannah breaks up with him? Why or why not?

2. Would you be willing to help a friend who was considering suicide? Why or why not?

3. How did Raul get Chris to decide against suicide? What strategies did he employ? In a similar situation what ways could you help a friend not to commit suicide?

4. Usually, there are multiple reasons that cause a person (of any age) to consider or attempt suicide. What reasons do you think lead someone to consider/attempt suicide?

5. Often times stress or problems that lead a teenager to consider or act on suicidal thoughts may build up over a period of time: weeks, months or years. The play hasn’t mentioned any other reason for Chris’ suicide except for his break up with Hannah. What other reason/s do you think Chris may have had for wanting to commit suicide? 

Scene 3: Same place, a few minutes later

RAUL


Chris, you’re feeling better, right?


CHRIS


Yeah. Sure.

RAUL

Then I think you ought to go see one of the school’s counselors.

CHRIS

How come? Nothing’s wrong.

RAUL

Well, a few minutes ago you were wanting to jump out the window. I think you ought to talk to someone.

CHRIS

I did. I talked to you.

RAUL

Well, that’s good and all. But I think you ought to talk to an adult too.

CHRIS

Nah. I’m feeling all right now.

RAUL

How ‘bout talking to Mrs. Jackson—I saw her just a few minutes ago in Mr. Morgan’s office. She’s pretty easy to talk to.

CHRIS

Nah. Don’t like her.

RAUL

Well, how about Mr. Morgan?

CHRIS

The principal? Ha! Yeah, right.

RAUL

No. I just think you ought to talk to an adult about what happened.

CHRIS

I KNOW what happened. I wanted to jump out the window and you talked me out of it. So thanks a bunch and let’s move on.

RAUL

That’s not a good idea, Chris.

CHRIS

Of course it is. You go home, or wherever you’re going, and I go to baseball practice. End of story.

RAUL

Not so fast. Did you go to that presentation by that doctor from Australia that spoke here awhile back?

CHRIS

That shrink with the funny accent that talked about suicide? Sure.

RAUL



Remember how he said that suicidal thoughts come in waves, usually over a few hours? 

CHRIS

Yeah. So?

RAUL

So in a few hours it will be dark and that doctor also said that suicidal thoughts often peak at night. You really need for someone to know what’s going on with you so they can help you get through the night.

CHRIS

Ok. What’s your phone number? I’ll call you if I’m ready to try again.

RAUL

555-1212. But you still need to talk to an adult. Remember what else he said, suicidal thoughts try to isolate you and trick you into thinking that there’s no future?

CHRIS

Yeah. Like I said, I’ll call you.

RAUL

That’s good. I’ll be there for you. But, we didn’t know each other before a few minutes ago. That doctor said that suicidal thoughts cause people to isolate and to believe that friends and family would be better off without them. So you need a lifeline—people who know what’s going on to help you get through the night.

CHRIS

Like I said, I’ll call you. I have your number: 555-1212.

Mr. Morgan walks down the hall. He is absorbed in looking at a document on his clipboard. He doesn’t notice the boys until he walks into the chair.
 

MR. MORGAN

Looking up and spotting CHRIS and RAUL

Where’d this chair come from?



CHRIS and RAUL look at one another.


CHRIS

I borrowed it from Ms. Adams’ room.

MR. MORGAN

Well, would you please put it back when you’re finished? It doesn’t belong in the hall.

CHRIS

Yeah.

MR. MORGAN

Thanks.

MR MORGAN starts on down the hall.

RAUL

Mr. Morgan, sir?

MR. MORGAN

Yes?

CHRIS

Nothing.

MR. MORGAN

Okay.

RAUL

Sir, Chris needs some help.

CHRIS

No, I don’t. I’m fine.

MR. MORGAN

Help with what?

RAUL

(to CHRIS)

You tell him, or I will.

CHRIS is silent.

MR. MORGAN

Tell me what, boys?

RAUL

Chris needs some help, sir.

MR. MORGAN

You said that. What with? Out with it boys, the accreditation team will be here tomorrow and I’ve got a lot to get done before then.

CHRIS

You’re busy. I’m fine.

RAUL

Chris isn’t fine. (beat) He tried to commit suicide. 

MR. MORGAN

MR. MORGAN looks at CHRIS and seems to see him for the first time.

Is that true, son? Is that why the chair is in the hallway?

CHRIS

(embarrassed)



Yes. But you’re busy, I’m fine now.


RAUL



Mr. Morgan, Chris needs help.

MR. MORGAN

(to RAUL)

Yes, he does and I’ll be sure he gets it. Thank you for telling me about this.

(to CHRIS)

Chris, let’s go to my office and talk.

CHRIS

Can Raul come?

MR. MORGAN

Sure. Your friend can come.



 End of Scene 3




For Further Discussion





1. Why is important to tell an adult about someone who has tried to commit suicide?




 


Scene 4: Mr. Morgan’s Office


The room is simply furnished an office desk with a phone and an executive chair, a couch and a side chair or two.


MR MORGAN enters followed by CHRIS and RAUL. As he enters MR. MORGAN puts his clipboard on the desk as he says:

MR. MORGAN

Take a seat boys. Tell me what’s going on, Chris.

CHRIS

My girlfriend broke up with me after school today and well, I thought I’d jump.

MR MORGAN

Anything else going on—say at home?

CHRIS

My parents are getting divorced. But that’s ok. They was always fighting, so things are better.

RAUL

Man, my parents got divorced and that was hard to deal with. I hated it.

CHRIS

What’d you do?

RAUL

I started spending time at the skating rink. I went to my friend’s house. Sometimes I talked to my sister about it. But man those were hard days. 

MR MORGAN

So things are easier for you now, Raul?

RAUL

Oh yeah. But it took time—and people to learn to deal with it. My Mom she’s pretty easy to talk to. My Dad, not so much. But he would take me places or do things with me. And Mom, she’d talkto me and my sis at dinner. And friends helped too, mostly by distractin’ me from my problems.

All that was five years ago—I was in sixth grade and Isabelle was in seventh. We still have problems with the divorce, but mostly its things like keeping straight when we go to Dad’s for the weekend.

CHRIS

So, life’s pretty good now?

RAUL

Course not. But, I -- I no longer feel that it’s me against the world.

MR MORGAN

Raul that’s a good point—you’re never alone if you have people helping you. Chris, let’s start by helping you build a network of friends and allies. Let’s start by getting the people involved who love you most—your parents. What’s your phone number?

CHRIS

555-5512—but there won’t be anyone home.

MR MORGAN

(as he dials)

Are they at work?



CHRIS


Dad is. But he also doesn’t live at home… anymore. Mom sells real estate, she might be there though.

MR MORGAN

It’s ringing.

What’s your Mom’s name?

CHRIS

Inez Warren.

MR MORGAN

(into the phone)

Mrs. Warren?

This is Jim Morgan at the High School.

Yes, ma’mn, I’m principal of Fanuiel High School.

Anyway, I have your son, here in my office…No. No, he’s not in any trouble. He just needs some help. If you could come down here…

Yes, fifteen minutes would be fine. See you then.

End of Scene 4




For Further Discussion




1. What can adults do to help a teenager who has tried to or has expressed an interest in committing suicide? What can you do to help a friend get help?


2. If you need help because you have had suicidal thoughts, are there people you could talk to? Who are they?



Scene 5: Mr. Morgan’s Office, 15 minutes later



INEZ, marching to the door, a person in a hurry. She may briefly sit down during the scene, but mostly she flutters—too hurried to want to bother with what is going on.


INEZ

Mr. Morgan?

CHRIS

Mom?I’m so glad you’re here. Mr. Morgan is wanting to have Ms. Jackson, the counselor talk to me about suicide. Isn’t that stupid?

INEZ

I don’t know. What’s going on, Mr. Morgan?

MR. MORGAN

It seems your son, Chris, was trying to jump out the third floor window when this young man stopped him.

CHRIS

Aw, they’re just making a big deal out of nothing.

RAUL

You asked me if you would die if you jumped out the window. And you were serious.

CHRIS

But I didn’t jump. Let’s just forget the whole thing.

INEZ

You’re ready then? Good, let’s go. I’ve got a meeting I need to get to in 30 minutes. 

MR. MORGAN

I’m sorry Mrs. Warren, we need to talk about this situation and get Chris some help.

INEZ

With what? Chris said he wants to forget it, I’m with him.

MR. MORGAN

Mrs. Warren, please slow down. Let’s….

INEZ

Don’t tell me to slow down. I’m in a hurry. I have a showing in thirty minutes and I can’t make it if I don’t get going.

CHRIS

I’m okay, Mr. Morgan. I’d just like to---

CHRIS starts to rise from his seat.

MR. MORGAN

Sit down, Chris.

Please sit down, Mrs. Warren. This is important and we need to talk about it-- now.

INEZ

Look. I don’t have time. Tell me what these two kids did. Tell me what Chris’ punishment is and let me get going.

MR. MORGAN

These boys, your son and Raul, are not in trouble---

INEZ

Good. Then let’s go.

MR MORGAN

SIT DOWN.

Please sit down, Mrs.Warren and please let me finish.

INEZ

O-okay.

INEZ finally sits down—on the edge of a chair.
 

MR. MORGAN

Let me say this very slowly:Your son tried to kill himself. Raul talked him out of that, thank God. But now we need your help to keep your son alive.

INEZ

Are you done? Can we go?

MR. MORGAN

Did you even hear me?

INEZ

Yes. Of course. You said, "Your son tried to kill himself. Raul talked him out of that, thank God. But now we need your help to keep your son alive."

(pause)

Oh, my God!

You tried to kill yourself, Chris?

CHRIS

Not really, I just asked Raul if he thought I would die if I jumped out the third floor window.

RAUL

We had a speaker here at school a few weeks ago, Mrs. Warren. That speaker, said that questions like, do you think I’d die if … are questions that teens ask just before they commit suicide.

MR. MORGAN

That’s true Mrs. Warren. Dr. Kerri Parnell, from Australia, said that questions like that one and comments like "I won't be a problem for you much longer," can indicate that a teen is suicidal. Other signs include declining grades and problems eating and sleeping. Have you noticed anything along these lines at your house?

INEZ

Actually, all of them have happened during the past two months or so. But I didn’t think much about them. Chris’ father and I separated about three months ago. I just thought that…

RAUL

I guess all that, plus breaking up with his girlfriend today…

INEZ

You broke up with Hannah today? Why you two have been together for what…?

CHRIS

Five months.

INEZ

Wow, I bet that hurt didn’t it?

CHRIS

Yeah. Hannah, today and Dad moving out… I guess it mighta been too much. I did kinda snap. But I don’t think I really woulda jumped.

RAUL

Well, you sure seemed serious to me. I sure felt like if I hadn’t kicked the chair away from the window and kept ….

CHRIS

I don’t think so…

INEZ

Are you okay now, Chris?

CHRIS

Yeah, I’m okay Mom. That guy who spoke, he said that night is when most suicidal thoughts come to people.

RAUL

And he also said that two things that can be done to combat suicidal thoughts are telling other people about the thoughts and being with other people.

INEZ

So the hours in front of us are the most important hours for Chris?

MR. MORGAN

Absolutely. Can you take Chris with you on your appointment Mrs. Warren? Or take him to dinner or a movie, perhaps? Anything that would make him interact with other people instead of being alone is helpful.

INEZ

Well, I don’t know. I’m late now. And I’m supposed to meet my husband at the lawyer’s office at 5:30.

MR. MORGAN

Can’t any of that be postponed?

INEZ

I don’t see how. I wish I could, it’s just…

RAUL

How about if Chris comes over to my house? I don’t live far from here.

INEZ

I don’t know….

CHRIS

Where do you live, Raul?

RAUL

Four houses from here; last house on the left with red shutters.

INEZ

That should work. Have you got your cell phone?

CHRIS

Yeah.

INEZ

Good. I’ll give you a call before I come pick you—probably around eight. Then we can go to dinner. Okay? 

CHRIS

Yeah. Whatevuh.

INEZ

Okay then, gotta go.

INEZ starts to exit.

MR. MORGAN

May I walk you to your car, Mrs. Warren? I’d like to talk with you about getting some psychological help for Chris.

INEZ

I don’t have any money for that Mr. Morgan. Divorce is taking every penny I have.

MR MORGAN and INEZ start to exit as:

MR. MORGAN

That’s okay, there are some free services available in this community. Let me tell you about them.

INEZ

Okay. But tell me as we walk, I’m late.

MR MORGAN and INEZ have exited.

CHRIS

My Mom’s a real piece of work, ain’t she?

RAUL

Most parents are, I guess. I’m hungry, let’s head to the house and see if we got some food. 

CHRIS

Good. I’m starving.

RAUL and CHRIS start to exit when:

Hey, man—why’re you bein’ so nice to me? Heck, we didn’t even know each other an hour ago.

RAUL

You needed a friend; so do I.

RAUL and CHRIS exit.

CURTAIN


End of Play




For Further Discussion




1. Is Inez Warren a good mother? Why or why not?

2. Is Mrs. Warren concerned about her son?

3. How does Mr. Morgan do to get Mrs. Warren’s attention? Do you think he did enough? Why or why not?

4. What resources—suicide hot lines, counseling and service agencies—are available in this community if someone is considering suicide?

5. What symptoms of being suicidal did Chris have BEFORE Hannah broke up with him?

6. How long do you think Chris MIGHT have been suicidal before the play began? How were you able to deduce that?

7. Do you think that Chris could try to commit suicide in the future? Why or why not.

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 Posted: Fri Dec 1st, 2006 11:31 pm
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Edd
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Mana: 
I very much like the use of "topics for discussion."  It opens a dialogue that should be very useful for the students.  It is really too bad that their parents won't be there to join in since that would build a bridge for further discussion between parents and their children.  Or, are they going to be invited?  You and your son have done a good thing here.

P.S.  I was thinking how wonderful it might be to do the play sight-specific--moving the scenes throughout the school having the audience follow.



What did you write today?

 

Last edited on Fri Dec 1st, 2006 11:46 pm by Edd

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 Posted: Sat Dec 2nd, 2006 05:21 pm
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BillySundae
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Mana: 
Edd:

I like the idea of the play being done at the site of each scene. When we put together the final packet I'll make sure that that is included as a staging idea. I also agree that it would be good for parents to be involved in the play and or in discussing it with their children though I'm not quite sure how that could work-- but I'll certainly give it some thought and discuss the idea with Elliott.

BillySundae

PS I read Desert Devils before I worked on the rewite with Elliott-- excellent and thought provoking. 

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 Posted: Mon Dec 11th, 2006 04:20 pm
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ohdear
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Mana: 
Good topic.
I like the discussion aspects. You pose good questions.

It seems a little robotic to me and repetitive in places. I know you want to get the information across, but it is too transparent the way it is on the page. Needs some serious thought as to how to say it in other ways, or by using other examples.

I like how the Head Master takes the time, even though he is busy and asks more probing questions.

the absence of cuss words makes it clinical somehow. Also, teenagers will connect more with it if it is a little naughty. Like, risque inside classroom. I have seen it used to good effect if done right. Just one or two medium cuss words would colour it,  make it real, if Chris really is suicidal, then I think a teen age boy would swear, especially when he is alone with Raul. (Perhaps NOT in the principals office)

Just my impression, take what you want and leave the rest.

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 Posted: Mon Dec 11th, 2006 05:34 pm
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BillySundae
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Mana: 
Oh dear:

I've debated whether or not to use cuss words. I agree that without them the language automatically seems stilted. But at least in Kentucky the use of cuss words would be cause not to consider it for classroom use. My son (who is my co-author) agrees with you that cuss words are appropriate. Anyone else have thoughts?

I'm not finished with the play yet. I have sent it out for comments: a local high school drama teacher is going to use it early next year in one or more of her classes; a couple of MDs/phsychologists have also been asked to read it to make sure the facts are correct; finally, I sent it off to a suicide education non-profit to get response and suggestions.

BillySundae

PS The person who got me started on this play is Dr. Kerrie Parnell, whose article about suicide prevention I found in Australian Doctor, is one of my reviewers!

 

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 Posted: Mon Dec 11th, 2006 07:26 pm
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Edd
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Mana: 
BillieSundae,

I don't agree about using "cuss" words, but that's me.  I'd rather set a good example than move toward a lower denominator.  I'm not a prude.  I've written plays that could curl toes.  I wouldn't do it for a school play, but again that's me.

What did you write today?

 

 

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 Posted: Tue Dec 12th, 2006 01:07 pm
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ohdear
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Mana: 
Can you go in the middle. I mean some words are not REAL cussing, just borderline.

I am unsure about what the rules are in Kentucky so it is always best to go with local needs. I know that in Aussie public schools it would be a given. But in private school perhaps FORBIDDEN.

Setting a good example is a worthy goal for sure. I am sure there is some middle ground.

I like that you are using your inspirer as a resource. It will be interesting what he gives as feedback.

It is a difficult line to draw. I know I struggle with it.  I know a phycologist from Perth who works with youth. He swears in his work and took it on stage during a presentation. Now that is where I draw the line.

In my work, I will use it as a bridge and a form of release. (Depending on who I am working with and I always ask permission first.) But on stage in a training session NEVER. So, I can see where it could be deemed inappropriate.

Your call
(I am most relieved it is not my decision)

Have you asked the teacher who will use it?

BTW, I like the change of title. It is DEFINATELY a catch cry for people in that postion.

Those words were uttered to my friend by her boyfriend just a few minutes before he jumped off his balcony. Makes you think.

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 Posted: Mon Dec 18th, 2006 01:01 pm
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Paddy
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Mana: 
Simply put...this is way to bleepin' easy.  If kids were all pulling chairs to the window, how easy would that be...well, but for the group of kids that would likely gather round and chant jump jump jump.

It's all too convenient...girlfriend dumps him, parents are splitting up.  The conversations...too easy.  I can't even imagine the principle inviting Raul into the meeting.   You see, in my mind, you've taught them much less than you could have.  I like the idea.  I like Edd's location idea...but the set up doesn't work for me for a second, and I think the kids will simply feel preached to.  There are so many signs when someone is suicidal.  There are none here.  This teaches kids how to intervene when someone is going to jump, but that isn't usually how it goes.  It's the signs that are important to teach, not the act.  The act usually comes when they are alone...late at night.

As for the cuss words...make up your own. 

It's just my opinion...but I honestly don't think this would work, and they way you've posed the questions...well, it's very obvious what answers you are looking for.  Kids know this stuff, and I don't think they would bite.  Why not just open a discussion?  Let them come up with their own questions?  It just feels that they are led around by the nose. 

Paddy

Last edited on Mon Dec 18th, 2006 01:19 pm by Paddy

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 Posted: Mon Dec 18th, 2006 05:48 pm
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Poet
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Mana: 
Have to say - I love the idea and the intention of this, but on the first draft I thought that (a) the language was too 'nice' and (b) the decline to suicide and back was to brief; I still do; so I have to agree with the divine Paddy.

Billy - there's probably something fantastically worthy here, but as I said before - this is a really tough balancing act worthy of Houdini. I know I couldn't write this, and I praise the courage of anyone who takes it on. Suicide is an incredibly, deeply, devastatingly lonely, private thing; it isn't meant to be shared, and it generally isn't, so it's difficult to envisage.

Maybe you could do more with a monologue?

Sorry Billy! I love it but... I don't!

As I said before "I don't know, I could be totally wrong... that has a tendency to happen quite a bit (especially when I stick my neck out with an opinion)!"

Last edited on Mon Dec 18th, 2006 05:53 pm by Poet

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 Posted: Mon Dec 18th, 2006 06:05 pm
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Poet
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Mana: 
"As for the cuss words...make up your own." (Paddy)

Now on a limited basis THAT'S just prickin' inspired!

I wonder how many bumballies there are out there who don't give a shat about the actual meaning of the words, but hear the tone.

(Bollocks? One definition, in legal precedent, says this is original Anglo Saxon slang for clergymen, who were renowned for long-winded sermons, hence 'talking bollocks'!)

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 Posted: Sat Jan 13th, 2007 11:27 pm
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scenedreamer
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Mana: 
I think the lack of of curse words or substitutions for them is a symptom of a deeper problem which, to me, is the need to show more desperation in the dialogue.  On a deeper level, desperation is what is being addressed.  Some of the dialogue seems too 'right on' to be deeply felt.  It seems that deep emotions would be more difficult to express.

Even though Chris' 'reason' for suicide seems far from desperate, a teen contemplating taking his or her own life would probably perceive the situation as desperate and suicide would be an attempt to end the pain.  I'm not sure you could trust a teenage actor to deliver that emotion without more of it in the script.  The divorcing mother too is probably desperate to get past her own pain.

Love the discussions and the concept.   Excellent and much needed subject matter.

sd

 

Last edited on Sat Jan 13th, 2007 11:30 pm by scenedreamer

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