It is that time of year again, when we thank you for all the interactions you have shared with us throughout the last 12 months; and now we ask that you purchase the latest edition of — Best of David Boles, Blogs: Vol. 9 (2018) — to help us continue to protect the good intentions of humanity, and we do that every day, all year, without using any advertising, or making any other asks of you.
My ophthalmologist is always excitable. She enjoys life. She’s an excellent MD. She knows I’m a writer, and a Script Doctor, and she makes bumping into her at her office to pick up my contact lens order, a real delight!
My doctor is also a Jersey City girl, born-and-bred, and she’s tough, and smart, and she knows the city well; and my doctor implored me to watch the new Netflix Seven Seconds cable series because it was about the city in which we spin.
She told me Seven Seconds was dark, and ugly, and that “bad people live here in Jersey City” — but my doctor loved the series, and she binge-watched all 10 one-hour episodes in a single sitting! She went on to tell me I had to watch it too, and that she would be testing me on what happened in the story the next time I sat with her for my annual eye examination. I took her up on her offer — and challenge! — because I had no other choice!
We live in The Age of Ophelia and of the sticky transom, and neither of those things are good, or worthy, when day is done. Ophelia is one of the most insipidly sad characters in all of Shakespeare’s greatest works — and in Hamlet, she not only dies a coward’s death — she also deeply burns disappointment into every reader of the play and observer of her character in performance.
Thirty years ago, as an undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, I wrote a play: A Stone’s Throw. The full-length drama was about the dilution of the human spirit forged against the willful hard-edge of moral exhumation — but my production quickly became known on campus as “That Abortion Play.” You may download an early draft of “A Stone’s Throw” on this Boles.com Prairie Voice Archive Scripts page; and here some of the reviews of the production.
Yes, today is a Day for Fools — but there’s no joking around that I now have a brand new Boles Book for the Playwright in Society — available for purchase from David Boles Books Writing & Publishing! This Boles Book for… is a thoughtful compilation of a lot of my writing on how the Playwright derives power and structure from the fabric of belonging.
There’s an old saying in some theatrical circles that a play does not exist unless and until is has been performed on a live stage in front of an audience. You can imagine the heartache that creates for the amateur, but vigilant, Playwright who writes page after page only to have the work discounted in the end analysis by some because there is no final proof of production to validate the effort. Is that a right and fair way to deal with a written Art in Performance? Does the actor exist without being staged? Does the director have a role without filling an empty space?
In the Fall of 2004, I was teaching a course at Rutgers University in Newark called “From Page to Stage” where the idea — as I was teaching the course — was to take original scripts written in class and present them in live performance to learn how the process of active creation worked.
The final project was a series of group presentations where students shared their lives as they were living it — and the alarming result of one racially diverse group was: “Newark in Black and Blue.” That group’s bruising presentation was tough and blunt and dramatic and I decided we had to record that performance in audio so we could preserve the truth of the moment.