Help with a couple of play ideas

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Thread: Help with a couple of play ideas

  1. #1
    Member chrisboggsctlr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Little Rock, Arkansas

    Question Help with a couple of play ideas

    My name is S. Christopher Boggs and I'm currently writing my 3rd play "By the Sea". It's the story of a time share cottage in Myrtale Beach, S.C and 6 families over the course of 40 odd years that use the cottage.

    Each Scene is a year, i.e. '69 is 1969, '77 is 1977, etc.

    I've been working on the play for close to a year and I'm stuck on two scenes. I could really use some advice/suggestions.

    Act 1 '77
    Scene 2

    Character: William Harper - Mid 20's - Former Vietnam Vet

    William is homeless, having come back from the war and being shunned by his family, friends and home town. The scene opens with William coming in out of the rain and camping out under the porch of the cottage.

    I'm just looking for some ideas on how to move forward with the scene.

    SECOND Scene

    Act 2 '98
    Scene 2

    Characters: Anne Baxter - Early 30's - Law Clerk and Jamie Tyler - Early 30's - College Professor

    Anne and Jamie are taking a vacation to the beach. They've been roommates since college and though they've never expressed their love for each other, this is the summer when that love not only blossoms, but possibly flourishes or possibly dies.

    Again, I could use some help with this.

    Thank you,

    S. Christopher Boggs
    "Roses are Red: A 1930's Radio Drama" and "The Winning Numbers"

  2. #2
    Member Missingtrees's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Hemel Hempstead
    Hi there

    It's a bit difficult to provide any meaningful ideas without knowing where the play is going, or what themes you have running through it, or any threads for your characters. Do they have anything in common other than the cottage? you could end up with some whacky suggestions such as aliens kidnapping the soldier and returning him to the cottage when Anne is there....ruining the love for Anne and Jamie!

    So, bearing that in mind... (and that Einstein said 'if at first and idea is not absurd, there is no hope for it)

    Could the occupants of the cottage take William in, nurse him back to health and happiness but he betrays them somehow - perhaps falling in and out of love with their daughter and breaking her heart? Or becoming bitter and stealing from them? Or going swimming with a shark shooting thing and accidentally killing/wounding his scuba diving benefactors? Or finding out he was adopted and the occupants are his real parents? Or he could become their protector, and when they are forced to leave the cottage through financial/health problems he makes it difficult for Anne and Jamie.. Or Maybe William is a ghost.... No-one can ever really leave the cottage?

    Anne and Jamie - again, not really knowing the genre - she could find out that he's been up to something bad - drug dealing to his students - and be conflicted on what she should do. Or find out that her boss is doing something morally wrong and drag Jamie into it - deciding what to do - and he then ends up falling for the boss and leaving Anne? Or is there a murder in here - the house drives occupants mad?

    Or is it a love story... Anne and Jamie fall in love but can't have children and that's all she (or he) wants; her desperation makes her sleep with someone else, or sleep with a ghost (william?) but she has a child, or does she fall into depression and he has to try to bring her out of it.....

    As you see, lots of ideas, probably mostly rubbish but there may be an acorn there somewhere.

    Hope this helps!

  3. #3
    Perhaps you could go in a more esoteric direction. The play seems to span great lengths of time. Time is an underused concept in plays use that in unexpected ways. I find the best route is not to question the instinct of the play. You chose this instinct, or more correctly, this instinct chose you. That's why you have the idea in the first place. Channel the will of the divines and write that play. Just don't question your inspiration till it's over. One of the worst things you can do in my mind is be too bighanded about the idea. Playwrights borrow ideas for a reason, anything new is not new unless imbued with the author's touch. I see where I would go with this, but I cannot know what you would do with it. So go on, surprise me, I like surprises.

  4. #4
    It sounds like these two scenes are mutually exclusive as they occur in two different decades if I understood your initial post correctly. I think that knowing how you want the characters to grow is necessary in order for us to help sufficiently.

    I am now violating my above advice.

    Is the Vietnam Vet renting the cottage, and camping out out of habit as well as to avoid his family possibly inside to establish the shunning or is he broke and this porch that he does not own is his only shelter? Or something very different? Even a bad idea may inspire a good one.

    As for Anne and Jamie. Are they the same gender? Or not? That will have to be taken into account by those offering suggestions.

    Good luck with the play.

  5. #5
    The obvious thing to me is to have a cross pollination in plot lines by having items used or for example letters read that generate plot shifts or common reactions between the different times characters. Have your Vet read a letter of a second world war survivor. Or a love letter re room mates etc. Or read same book. Turn or allow the environment to be a plot participant
    We are the measure of all things. And the beauty of our creation, of our art is proportional to the beauty of ourselves of our souls. Jonas Mekas

  6. #6
    Well, when I was homeless I always found some measure of comfort in animals. Now if I were to put myself in that era with my experiences in a setting in which, I'm not seeing a lot of social activity, I could be wrong. is possibly give this poor feller a dog, or some form of companion to help him deal with his issues, or even have him create his own animal mentally as a way to deal with his issues, using the animal as maybe a way to describe the characters true emotions on the inside... Okay I need to stop now I will sit here and go off on ideas for days! But maybe that helped a little maybe not, or maybe I just confused people.

  7. #7
    For the '77 scene, have a puppy find the homeless man. The two start interacting when the puppy's owner and her toddler daughter find them both. The Vet offers to leave without causing trouble when the toddler wonders if they can help him. Go from there.

    For the '98 scene, have the law clerk hear about Jamie getting sued by her firm. That way, she has to decide between her career and her love for Jamie.

    Keep writing, friend.


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