i & me & you
A blog about a play
Before there was a play, before there was a first line of a play, before there was even an idea, there was just me. Just a guy who writes plays getting ready to start something new, but the problem with the starting something new is always . . . what?
And I don’t mean “what” as in “what should the play be?” Because that question, I promise you, will successfully stop you from ever writing a single syllable. Ever. I mean “what” as in “what kind of thing would I like to do next?”
And I thought: a love story.
Everything I write has love in it. Because I’m a person. I like love. And people have fallen in (and out) (and back in) love in my plays. But I had never sat down to write a full-out love story. So, that was an exciting kind of thing to think about writing.
And then I thought: I realllllly like science fiction.
I don’t mean the laser-beam-and-robot kind. (Although I am actually a sucker for laser beams and robots.) I mean the speculative kind, the what-is-the-future-going-to-be-like kind. The “Black Mirror” kind.
Do you know “Black Mirror”? If not, stop reading and go to your Netflix account right now. It’s a little like “The Twilight Zone” but dealing with cutting-edge technology. And it’s a deeply humane series of short stories that all deal with how we connect and disconnect from each other. It’s visionary and scary and funny and thoughtful and just plain entertaining.
I’m getting off track. And Netflix isn’t paying me, so . . .
The point is, I love speculative science fiction. So I went to my files (I keep files of possible things to write about) and found an article I had forgotten about that talked about an experiment being done currently on the brains of laboratory mice and rats that hasn’t yet been tried on humans. Not yet.
Exactly what that experiment was isn’t necessarily important. It was a springboard for me to dive into my own curiosities about how science is melding with our lives to try to help. And how, sometimes, that trying to help might end up not being the best thing.
And I sat down and wrote the first scene of this play. Before it turned into a love story, before I knew anything else, the first scene. A doctor and a patient. Science jumping in to help somebody in crisis. And then what?
And then what?
Tune in. Let’s meet back here and talk a bit about how a play makes its way from that initial “what?” to the most important person — you.
—Jeff Talbott, Playwright