Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


Dramatic inspiration

I have to do some rewrites on my new play tonight so that I can hear them at tomorrow night’s rehearsal, but I thought I’d procrastinate first. (I am a writer, after all.) So I turned on the television.

First, I saw an episode of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit!, which dealt partly with all the millions of people in Africa suffering from HIV and AIDS because they can’t get access to condoms.

When that was over, I caught the tail end of a documentary on another channel concerning the closing of a GM factory in Ohio. The crew followed about a dozen different long-term assembly plant workers around the shop floor on their last weeks, right up to closing day. You have never seen so many grown men cry.

Then on a third channel I caught the last 20 minutes of a documentary about a son who just couldn’t take his mother any more and killed her. The documentary is from the point of view of his older sister. I caught the scene where she asks their father why he never intervened in what I take to be his now-slain wife’s endless criticism and abuse. He says that if he’d suggested therapy, the mother would have divorced him, and so he didn’t know what to do, the daughter says that doesn’t absolve him, so the father bolts up from the interview and storms out of the house. The next scene is the sister visiting her brother in prison.

After this, I was afraid to see what I’d find elsewhere on TV. So now I’m writing the play. Who says theatre isn’t escapism?

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