Man, this has been an interesting couple of years.
When the pandemic hit back in 2020 I had a play, 1984, playing in four theaters in two different countries, had just started rehearsal for a show, and getting ready to start work on the next Mime Troupe script.
Then everything shut down.
All of the 1984 productions closed, the show I was rehearsing stopped, and the Mime Troupe show was cancelled. I didn't know what was going to happen, and everyone was panicked about the future. And suddenly we all had to stay indoors for a couple of weeks
So I decided to write a play I'd had in my head for a while, a show about two Black teenagers struggling against a country that wants them either to fulfill hateful stereotypes created by racists, or to die young. A show about internalized racism, about oppression, about having to act grown to survive when all you really are is a kid.
And about Genghis Khan.
I had started to work on the show the Fall before, just sketching out some scenes, but after the literary manager at the Alley Theatre in Houston- one of the theaters 1984 was playing at - told me I should write the script for them right before the world stopped I decided the world had stopped to get me focused. So I sat down and worked, every day, eight to ten hours a day, creating a detailed outline for every beat in the script; every action and reaction, every relationship, pages of outlines and breakdowns - the play divided into three acts, each act divided into three bits, each bit divided into three sections, each section divided into a clear given, complication, and result. I broke down every moment until there was nothing left to do but write the dialogue. Very mathematical, but it worked. At the end of a month I had a complete first draft of a comedy about racism, sexism, propaganda, oppression, and revolution. Hilarious!