luni, 27 iunie 2016

how a day can get better

Just discovered that after you finish writing a play, it's a very good thing to get over the feeling that it's worthless, and come back to it after at least 3 weeks, with a fresh eye. Then you can add up stuff. And also value it, go back to the text and rediscover and value it. So important. And also use the news you've been swallowing in the last days in a Fb binge, in order to improve your characters. As they find new shapes and meanings after the whole Brexit surprise. And just add value to your work.

Like what happened to me when I started writing this statement draft:

" I have written “Who’s to blame?” before the Brexit events, starting with a thought about how people try to find shelter in a “better country” after a traumatic experience in theirs. How “better” is “better” and how does life go on after you finally “made it” are questions that made me think of these characters and their story. The story that unfolds in “Who’s to blame?”gathers a number of characters that represent typologies from nowadays society: the old conservative “right wing” mother, the teenage emotional introvert socially anxious daughter, the adult political correct integrated young woman, the rich alienated bank manager and the newly come emotionally vulnerable immigrant. The way these characters affect one another leads to a tragic event. But the question is, at the end of the play: who’s to blame for it? As each character has his or her own motivation, we witness a complex process in which a chain of not-so-well-thought decisions lead to a tragic end. My main goal in building this story is actually related to my statement regarding the process of dealing with similar experiences, and this is also why I chose that the title should be a question. I think a good political play should raise questions not give answers, and this is how I designed the story: you see people heading towards a disaster, but you can’t point at anybody for sure. Whose blame is it for getting so alienated that you fall into this constant mechanism of sabotaging your own moments of empathy? What triggered this mechanism and what is the solution?

In a moment of crisis, probably the first step is to ask the right questions, and also analyse the context. And I think one key of a valid analyse  is to be patient in gathering all the information and not rushing in to put the blame on somebody.

As a Romanian who used to live for a while in the UK and also documented the status of Romanian Immigration there, I felt it a bitter taste when thinking about what this process actually means. I tried to put this mixture of repressed emotions and feelings into the main character, Suzanna, who has a strong sentiment of hate towards her mother. As the story moves forward, we discover the reason Suzanna can’t stand her mother- because she was the one who dragged them from Romania to the UK when she was only 12. This can be a traumatic experience for a child, but as much as Suzanna hates her mother for taking this decision on her behalf, she has to agree it was for the best. Which is actually leading her to a very repressed emotional state. People tell her she is “frozen” and “cold”, as she keeps on living in the same loop of going-to-work-and-then-coming-back-home narrative.  

Suzanna embraced the system of her hew country, and also its political values. She is annoyed and pissed with her mother when she makes “right wing statemens” and actually she judges her for stating that her new neighbors are “terrorists” because they dress in a traditional Muslim fashion and “pray all the time”. Suzanna doesn’t have the patience nor the nerves to comfort her mother, who is in a very fragile state of mind after having terrible nightmares that repeat traumas from the past. Combined with the state of fear induced by the news, these dreams turn the mother into a irrational person, who repeatedly says that she just needs to spend time with her daughters in order to calm down. But her daughter doesn’t have nor time, nor patience.
After the Brexit events, the mother’s character became even more interesting for me, as she has the manifestations of a typical “leaver”- old, conservative right wing racist, who forgets about her own flaws when she accuses others. So it's very interesting to see what does actually bring her in this state of irrational What this character asks from her family is affection, and the fact that she is not listened to aggravates her irrational state.

This constant fragmentation in the small comunity which is a family is something that interested me, when writing the play. Each and every member of this family lives in a state of alienation: the younger daughter doesn’t want to leave the house because of social anxiety and blames Suzanna for not being there for her, mother is consumed by her irrational fear that something will go wrong, Suzanna doesn’t want her mother to move in at any stake.

In a strange way, as Anna says, the only moment when she actually felt a real communion between people was after the attack, when she lost her fright and was able to go our of the house without fearing that people will judge her. This brings up another strong theme: the lack of values and goals as a real community, as Anna tells Selim when she tries to explain .

The characters function up to a point, then they’re all just broken: Anna can’t stop her tabliod-teenage-enthusiastic reaction when she hears Selim used to be enrolled in ISIS for two months. Mother can’t control her fear. Maxie, the banker/dog can’t actually intervene when he feels he should.

There is a strong feeling of fragmentation and lack of real community that sabotages any human connection that can be made between the characters of this play.

[develop a bit more in the actual play the “who’s to blame” monologue for Maxie; also- mother: more clear that she wants to be listened to, and she is irrational; she should say about Maxie that he is English; she is proud of her UK citizenship- maybe some family/historical tied, so she’s not entirely immigrant; but overall, just work a bit more on this character and her features, including the irrationality and fear she is dominated by]

 “Who’s to blame” becomes a symbolical question that wants to trigger this process of trying to find answers. Now, in a moment of crisis, we all need to ponder upon this and not rush into irrational judgemental decisions, but rather start a process of lucid analyse towards the facts and possible solutions.  

joi, 16 iunie 2016


Suspicion- interesting dynamics between people- targeting the real meaning behind the words. Based on the "are you implying that...." or "is this what you're saying? "... like a continuous negotiation to discover the real meaning of what one is saying. You can build an entire play based on this.