My 10-minute play, The Eulogy, which will be read this Sunday at Playwrights’ Platform, is a perfect example of how inspiration can come from anywhere at any time — so you need to keep your eyes and ears open. I often make little notes about things I’ve seen or bits of conversation I’ve heard or events I’ve read about in the news that could be the germ of a 10-minute play.
For example, I recently participated in the Hovey Players 24-Hour Play Festival, which was not 24 hours worth of plays but 5 plays written and performed within 24 hours! I met my cast, two 20-something women, and the director at 9pm on a Friday and had to get a play to them by 8 the next morning. Yikes! For inspiration, I went to my list of writing ideas and saw, “Young woman sitting alone at a bus stop in a party dress, crying,” which was something I’d actually seen downtown. So, I put my young woman on her bench and had the other young woman come along and find her, and it went from there—successfully, judging from the responses it got.
<em>The Eulogy</em> grew out of a conversation between my sister-in-law and a few of my siblings at my brother’s cottage in Wisconsin last summer. She insisted that she was going to have to write her own obituary and eulogy in order to ensure that she was remembered as she wanted to be remembered. It was hard to believe that this was a real-life conversation, but there it was, just itching to be written about. When I got home from Wisconsin, I pictured a middle-aged woman on the beach with her husband, a real worry wart for whom this is just the latest concern. Her long-suffering husband tries his best to calm her down and get her to remember that she’s supposed to be on vacation.
I think it worked out well, but we’ll see what my fellow playwrights have to say about it on Sunday…