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Ten minute play I'm working on. Harriet.  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Fri Apr 11th, 2014 03:36 am
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ServiceSpirit
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Mana: 
NOW EDITED BELOW

Last edited on Thu Jun 5th, 2014 10:27 pm by ServiceSpirit

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 Posted: Fri Apr 11th, 2014 04:07 am
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ServiceSpirit
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Mana: 
Hi

Read back over - sorry it is the whole thing.
I would think my main crit would be that the marriage thing is corny and the scene where she falls could also be replaced.
Bits of it seem very obvious on reading

so few people posting works on here. anyone know anywhere busier?

Last edited on Fri Apr 11th, 2014 04:27 am by ServiceSpirit

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 Posted: Mon Jun 2nd, 2014 11:30 am
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Laphillyboy
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Mana: 
Not sure what to say about this specifically but  wanted to give my impressions.  I am not an experienced critic and certainly not an expert playwright.   But I will share my thoughts.

To me, this feels more like a poem than a play.  Why do I say that?  Because, to me, there is not much for the actor or audience to latch onto.   The play maintains a very consistent mood from the start to finish, a sort of morose sentimentality: Loss. Longing.  Confusion.  Sadness.  The writing has a very poetic quality to it, especially where words and parts of phrases are repeated.   Some of the writing is quite lyrical and lovely.  However it never grabbed hold of me as pure Drama. 

I think what I am looking for can be summed up in three words: a beginning, middle, and end (I guess that is really five words but whatever).  I could not detect any change in the characters as we moved through the play.  They feel static to me.

There is certainly exposition.  I learn things about the characters and their lives as it moves along, part of it even reminded me of "our Town" for a bit, but I kept waiting for some kind of movement.  Some shift.  Some change.  If it is in there I missed it. 

I did not understand the relationship between Wendy and Harriet. 

There may be some precedent for this play form in South African storytelling that I am not aware of.    It has a surreal quality that reminds me a bit of Maori storytelling or other indigenous peoples art that relies upon the involvement of spirits and dead ancestors.  If that is part of the syntax and language being used here then might would help to apply it within a more traditional framework to assist the uninitiated. 

That's my two cents.   Take it for what it is worth.   I am always interested in experimental and conceptual art forms.  I just find myself looking for more in this.

- Jim C

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 Posted: Thu Jun 5th, 2014 10:25 pm
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ServiceSpirit
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Mana: 
Thanks very much Laphillyboy
I've edited it and got one rehearsed read through with a company since posting, but it's all good stuff what you put.

I will look into the Maori storytelling that you mentioned because that sounds very relevant and actually fascinating.

I think the beginning middle and end have been solved somewhat and Wendy is no longer in there

I'll post the new edit in case anyone ever reads this post.


Thanks Jim

Katherine

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 Posted: Thu Jun 5th, 2014 10:26 pm
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ServiceSpirit
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Mana: 
(Lights up slowly on HARRIET. MAN is already on stage, but in the dark as much as is possible. HARRIET wakes up slowly. She is very disoriented. It takes her a while to get to her feet. She is quite happy to be here.)



HARRIET
(Looks at audience.)
Oh wow anything I want? Great! I could have you
(Picks out someone in the audience with her eyes.)
for a sister, and someone to love? Someone who wasn’t just a sister, a mother…
(Looks around audience.)
Not just someone threatening.
(Turns her head to the side.)
Looking at himself in the bathroom mirror, turning the tap on, washing his hands while I’m still cowering on the floor and always that psychopathic presence.
(As though audience has spoken.)
Hey? It was so dark? Yes it was dark - but what does that matter when the lights go out anyway and the light of at the end of the tunnel, so much brighter?

Alright then, alright. I’ll play along. You’d like me to have more. A lover. But that didn’t happen…

I’m seeing God, I’m seeing God, but he hates me. No, no that’s not right. I’m fine.

(Lights up on MAN.)


MAN
How are you today? Would you like a cup of tea?


HARRIET
How would I know, this isn’t real.

MAN
I’ll make you one.

HARRIET
NO, really, it’s ok.

MAN
Alright.

(Pause.)

HARRIET
I’m really thinking that God wants me dead.


MAN
I know you think about all kinds of stuff.

HARRIET
I’m so quiet all the time. I just sit there, staring into space.

MAN
Shall we go for a walk?


HARRIET
I can’t they’re all talking about me.

MAN
A drive then?

HARRIET
You know I can’t. I try to run, I jump out of the car. They follow me.


MAN
Is there a place where they won’t?


HARRIET
Yees.
(Rolls her eyes.)
It’s called Valhalla.

MAN
OK well, we’re not going there.

HARRIET
I’d love to let you know what this feels like this onion under my skin. On my hands it’s all charred.

(She rubs her hands.)

MAN
Tell me.

HARRIET
It feels soft, purple.
(Distracted…)
I think that’s someone older…
(To Audience.)
Is that you again?


MAN
Do you want to hold hands?


HARRIET
I can’t I’m from an evil egg. I’m from the other planet. There’s a war on. Which side are you on?

MAN
Yours.

HARRIET
Oh, no that‘s not right. That’s not right. I wish I could read. I wish I could just read easily. Like you. You read to me at night. Good books. Really good books, things I missed out on at school… and decent porn.

MAN
I think we should walk.
(They come to stand together, and walk in a small circle.)
This is lovely.

(Pause. They sit.)

HARRIET
Have you decided when I’m going to meet your Parents?
We have to decide at some point, I know you don’t really get on, but…
(HARRIET looks at MAN. He’s quiet.)
You don’t do you?

MAN
No not really. I think if we meet them at theirs, I don’t know… on a nice day, in Summer…

HARRIET
Let go!
(HARRIET falls.)

HARRIET
Yes I think. I think I’ll just stay here.
(To front, but talking to someone else.)
HARRIET
While you kick me. While you put me in hospital. Hurt my kidneys. While you make it so that my mum has to carry me just to go pee.
(She gets up. Looking forward but speaking to MAN.)
And I rode a wild horse.
(Looks at MAN.)
Wild!
(Looking forward.)
Well, it wasn’t a wild horse it was in a field at night. Someone else’s horse, really. Naked though. Like Lady Godiva.


MAN
You told me.

(HARRIET looks at MAN.)
MAN
I was a bit surprised that you, so sensible. Working in finance.

HARRIET
Yeah Right!
HA. HA.

MAN
An accountant.

HARRIET
I’m dyslexic. Stacking shelves, working in a factory, cleaning schools, look at me. I’m a dinner lady.

MAN
You can be what you want to be.


HARRIET
(To Audience.)
And outside the graveyard. That man. His soul coming out of, out of his mouth to grab me, he takes mine.
Did I ever get it back? I was so afraid. I couldn’t stop shaking.

MAN

(He is suddenly happier.)

Do you know what night it is?


HARRIET
He took my soul.


MAN
Never mind that it’s much later than that... Do you know what night it is? It’s my job night!

HARRIET
(Hugs him.)
Yes! Makes you feel worthwhile!


MAN
And it’s both bins! It’s the green bin and the brown bin - and next week – I can take out the garden sacks! It’s summer. You can fill one this week, weeds, hedge trimmings, old lavender bushes.

HARRIET
Yes – yes. I’d love to. In fact stop there. I was – I was –
(To Audience.)
what did you call me?
(Pause.)
Untamable.
(To Man.)
Let’s go back to the beginning.


MAN
Did you want me to be tall? Sure. Funny? Alright. What about richer than average? What about I drive a car and I’ve got a house, with a mortgage, but I have a good job, good salary?

(HARRIET goes to stand next to him.)


MAN
We meet at a café. You get a parking ticket. We don’t kiss for two weeks. Then you want to take it slow. And we do. Then we can’t keep our hands off each other. We talk about going on holiday

HARRIET
Then we go to France.

MAN
To the mountains. We ski. I break my nose. Blood all over the snow.

HARRIET
(She sits.)
I sit, I take a razor blade. I cut deeply.
(She mimes cutting.)
Not as if I don’t mean it really… not as if it was an attempt. Not intending to be found. Not intending for there to be a way back… the blood covers me. covers the room. It just doesn’t stop! Until my mother comes in and wraps me in towels and calls the ambulance, she stops the blood, keeping my life in.
(She presses her wrists.)
So much blood when I cut my wrists.
(To Audience.)
You found me, Mum.

MAN
You couldn’t find your book, you looked everywhere

HARRIET
(Rolls her eyes.)
Oh, I can read now. Of course.
MAN
Yes! You looked for it all over the boat. In the food lockers. Over the side of the pontoon, in the sea!
(Smiling at her.)
Hey do you know when I asked you to marry me? I mean I know I didn’t really. I know really you were scared and alone and…


HARRIET
(HARRIET interrupts and kneels, hands in prayer position.)
I pray, I wait in the street… for what?
(To Audience.)
Do you know? I’m not going to say, you know? I just prayed, for what?
With cars screeching by, people stopping in the street and calling the police. Waiting for God to take me?
(To Audience.)
Was I? Oh I can’t say. I can’t say - I’m on the other side now… not listening… not able to hear you now
and people getting their phones out and calling the police. This is supposed to be a nice story. Anyway do you really want me back? Really? To say what? To do What? You can do nothing.
(HARRIET does the actions as she speaks to Audience.)
I rolled around in the mud, didn’t I? Had a mudfight. I was so crazy! I really was wasn’t I? Do you know how crazy you have to be to do that? I was naked in the park.

MAN
Stop it!
(He grabs her wrist.)
We kissed in the sand and I asked you if you wanted to marry me.

HARRIET
I said: Here? Naked in the mud?

MAN
You said yes in a whisper, wearing jeans and a long top.

HARRIET
I could hardly breathe. Is this getting too much? Too corny? Sentimental? I don’t know about this! I think I will get out of this one. It’s too much like a …


MAN
No! It’s perfect you wore white.

HARRIET
Oh god! Yes ok – ok I did. I’m sure it was perfect. No… Sorry… Oh Please!
(To Audience.)
What is the point in this? You know what really happened. You know it wasn’t like that.


MAN
Play along!

(To Audience.)

HARRIET
What do you want me to do?


HARRIET
Not to have died? Not to have been so crazy? What do you want from me I can’t give you anything I can’t give you any of that any of what you are looking for or yearning for or my love my lost love I am lost my love I lost my life.

I don’t know what I can do.

MAN
Pretend.


HARRIET
What we’ve just been doing? How long for? When can I go back?

MAN
Don’t let it be the end stay with me.

HARRIET
(To Audience.)
What is it you want!?

MAN
It never happened. You’re still here. You get well. You live a normal life. You say goodbye to 12 years straight of psychosis and become happy…

HARRIET
I didn’t end up knocked out of one of my shoes then?

MAN
No!


HARRIET
I didn’t die as soon as my head hit the windscreen?


MAN
No!

(Lights down on MAN.)

HARRIET
And then no lorry would have to run over my body. I’m sorry for your pain. Oh, look it’s your house! With a hedge in front. A front entrance hall and a key board. Kitchen – double fridge. Matching kettle and toaster.
(To audience.)
I had a dream last night, sister. I saw you surfing. I saw you riding the crest of a wave.



BLACKOUT

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 Posted: Fri Jun 6th, 2014 12:38 am
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Edd
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Mana: 
This is fracking wonderful! Were this mine, I would be proud, but I would make it a monolog for HARRIET. She would somehow indicate the differences between the two. BUT that's me. Only me. Just me. And don't you do it. And don't you do anything anyone suggests without thinking about it carefully. The way you write is so beautiful, lyrical and heady, you must write and write your heart and soul out. BTW, I generally read nothing in here for many reasons, but I'm glad I took the time.

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 Posted: Mon Jun 9th, 2014 07:37 pm
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ServiceSpirit
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Mana: 
Thanks so much for your post!

I don't know what to say actually!


:)

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