Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Below is the text of a play I wrote for Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. I’m putting it here because the couple that I wrote the play about asked me to share it publicly, and it seems only fair to honor that request.
© 2012 Bilal Dardai
Music plays very softly throughout. BILAL and BRENDA have a conversation. They are sitting on the backs of two chairs next to each other, facing out. Throughout the play, all other ensemble are bringing in other chairs, boxes, anything that can be sat upon, tapping one or both and switching out the previous seat. There is no set rhythm to this. The switches happen whenever, and the seats come from anywhere in the theater.
BD: I wrote a play.
BA: You’ve written several plays.
BD: Yes, but I’m referring to a specific play that I wrote.
BA: For this show?
BD: No, this was 13 years ago, in college, way before I joined this company.
BA: A conventional sort of play, then.
BD: Characters, fictional setting, etcetera. One act; a husband, a wife, and her lover. Not particularly good. Another bad college play filled with bad television ideas about human relationships.
BA: Bilal, why are we talking about a bad play you wrote 13 years ago?
BD: I was recently talking to my friend Kim about that play. Kim was the lead actress in the only production of that play. And her husband, Levi, he was also in the only production of that play.
BA: Meaning her husband in the play or her husband in real life?
BD: Both. Levi and Kim played the husband and wife in my bad college play and five years later they got married. They’ve been married for eight years. They have two kids. Two boys. And Levi and Kim first met each other working on my shitty college play.
BA: That’s a nice story.
BD: You would think so, wouldn’t you? It’s a nice story and I should just let it be a nice story. I should just…let that be what it is.
BA: You’re not going to do that, are you.
BD: Brenda there are two human beings alive in the world today who would not be alive if I hadn’t written a godawful college one-act for their parents to meet each other while performing.
BA: But that’s not why you wrote the play. You didn’t sit down one day and say “Hm, I’m going to write a play that causes two people to fall in love and start a family.”
BD: I didn’t. But that’s what happened. And it makes me think about all the times I did write a play that was designed to elicit some sort of change in the world, some barnstorming, firebranding political monologue or whatever, that will probably, in the end, have less effect on the course of human events than the existence of these two children.
BA: That is certainly one way of looking at it.
BD: Which makes me think even further about why I do this at all, this “writing of plays to be seen by people” thing, and whether all I’m really trying to do is ignore the truth of my own mortality by creating things that will exist after I’ve died.
BA: And that’s a slightly less rational way of looking at it…
BD: But then finally I ask myself if there’s any point to doing that, when the work I’m proudest of could end up meaning nothing, while some terrible play I wrote when I was young and stupid leads to the endless possibilities represented by the offspring of two random people meeting in that aforementioned awful work.
BA: You know, Bilal, this all sounds like a projection of fairly typical reactions to becoming a new father. You’re concerned about the choices you’ve made and the way they ripple the world you leave behind. Don’t you think?
BD: I suppose that’s true.
BA: So: stop worrying about it. This is natural.
BD: Okay. (Beat.) I wish this were a better play about that.