I am not a fan of the One Act Play — even though I’ve written many of them — because I now realize just how ubiquitously they have killed the modern theatre by shaving expectation, shortening audience attention spans and by setting a low-budget watermark for producers and a little-to-none time commitment for directors and actors. One Act Plays are a cheat against the human spirit, as the convenience of mindless television plotting replaces the tension of the live stage performance.
Here is one of the greatest pieces of advice I can offer you when you get stuck with your dramatic writing. I stumbled upon this solution and it has saved me many times over the years.
The first thing to wither in a failing economy are the rights of the minority individual. I’ll give you a real world example that will set the ominous tone to come for the rest of us.
When minorities are accused of “acting White” by other minorities, tension and pain pierces both sides of that bloody coin of the cultural realm. Elijah Anderson presses that hot button in his excellent book, Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City, published in 1991, where he dissects the “code differences” between “decent” Blacks and “street” Blacks:
….street oriented people can be said at times to mount a policing effort to keep their decent counterparts from “selling out” or “acting white,” that is, from leaving the community for one of higher socioeconomic status. This retaliation, which can sometimes be violent, against the upwardly mobile points to the deep alienation present in parts of the inner-city community. Many residents therefore work to maintain the status quo, and so the individual who tries to excel usually has a great deal to overcome.
Forget about “where do you want to go today?” Most of us have to work for a living. The more meaningful question for me is “where am I supposed to be today… right now?!” We’ve come a long way from carrying crumbled notes in our pockets. I used to be wonderful at taking notes that I either couldn’t read or couldn’t remember what they were related to. Palm Pilots and other PDAs have helped solve the nuisance of lost notes, but even the Palm (it’s always in my pocket) isn’t a truly industrial strength organizer… it’s the best when you’re on the go, but I still haven’t seen anyone in their office with a Palm keyboard (don’t laugh, you can get one) typing correspondence or printing activity calendars.
I found the need for a contact manager long before the first Palm Pilot. Ten years ago, there wasn’t much in the way of choice. When in doubt, chose the market leader, right. Right? So my first experience in trying to tame chaos was with the now forgotten Polaris Pack Rat 3.0. What an eye-opener… this early windows program could do almost anything (or so it seemed at the time). It was configurable in a number of unique ways to allow you to associate lots of different things with contacts and to change the screen display any way you felt like it. Its only problem… it crashed a lot and you lost data when it crashed; not very acceptable over time. Finally the company was victim of the “tar baby upgrade” syndrome-the one that wouldn’t work right no matter what-and they went out of business around 1992.
Discussions of contact managers and PIMs often take on the characteristics of a religious debate… fierce positions, often adversarial, seldom resolved. This article will avoid that fevered controversy by limiting the scope of discussion to practical tips for users of Act for Windows and any version of the Palm Pilot (personal, pro or III).
Since early last year, Symantec has provided a free utility for synching Act for Windows with the Palm Pilot. You can download this patch free from the Symantec Web site (under products select ACT and select free downloads). The file is about 6 Mb, so pick a time when you can handle a file that large.