I’m Sorry... Well, Sort Of
by Christine Rodriguez
“I implore you!” she wails, collapsed over the night table beside her bed.
A theatre friend once told me that as an actor, it’s good to be a writer too. You can create parts for yourself.
The actors, Julie and Leigh, pull up chairs to sit and chat with Jacqueline, the director. Julie and Leigh are spent. They both look like they’ve lost their best friend. They glance over at me and I mouth the words: I’m sorry...
A theatre friend once told me that as an actor, it’s good to be a writer too. You can create parts for yourself. With that idea in mind, I set out to write The Arrangement, a play about five women in my age range, resulting in five roles to choose from. But once I decided to produce the play, I thought I wouldn’t have time to do a good job as both producer and actor. Consequently, I don’t have a role in my own play. I’ve taken a back seat now in the creation department. I’m on the outside looking in for a change. And I’m very happy with this choice. The alternative would have been to miss out on witnessing the evolution of the play from page to stage. If I was acting in this play, I would have been too absorbed in my own character to truly appreciate the evolution of the actors into the characters that
I’d created as a playwright. And what a treat it is to watch.
One day, Jacqueline decides to have the actors do an improvisation on how the characters first met. The outcome is magical.
One of the things that struck me the most is how, from ideas in my head and mere words on a page, the characters have come to life through the actors. One day, Jacqueline decides to have the actors do an improvisation on how the characters first met. The outcome is magical. The characters are all there, ten years younger, Ines, Jaya, Faye, Anca and Barbara, the essence of each real and palpable. It’s chilling and moving at the same time. A little piece of me is rippling through each of these actors right before my eyes.
So here we are. Julie and Leigh Ann have had it out again and I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I wrote this play to deal with love and death; that the actors, by bringing the characters to life so vividly, have to suffer the ups and downs that I created for them. It reminds me of Unfit For Bears and how much work those actors must have put in to deliver such challenging and difficult material. I have a newfound respect for the actor. The work looks harder to me now that I’m an observer of the process rather than actually immersed in it.
Yes. I’m sorry for a few seconds, but then I’m really not because the snapshot of life that I wanted to capture with this play is very much alive for all to see now.