Let him demand his fill.

Could we fill up on questions? If food was short – could we drop question after question into our bellies? Or rather drop question after question into others until we were full? I suppose it’s the answers that might fill us up.

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Dead.

Of all the one word sentences there are, this has got to be one of the best.

One word lines remind me of Open Scenes…a series of scenes with dialogue without a clear meaning. They are often used in acting and directing classes as a training technique. Open scenes are often full sentences but one could easily have one made up entirely of one word lines. And this one would make an impact every single time. Mostly due to its meaning but the sound, too, has a nice stop in it.

Let him go, Gertrude.

Gertrude must be pretty strong. I mean to be able to hold back an incensed young man? And to continue to hold him back? Where did she get this strength? Did they train Queens in martial arts in Denmark? I’ve read that a lot of the Viking warriors were women. Maybe she’s got some Viking in her? I like a queen who can not only defend herself but also defend her husband when needed. A warrior queen.

In my current emotional state, I’d be very happy to have a warrior queen.

Tell me, Laertes, Why thou art thus incensed.

As obvious as it maybe, this is actually a pretty good strategy for talking with someone in this heightened state. Asking questions. Listening. Letting the incensed person say all the things they need to say. When a person comes ready to fight, they are not necessarily in a state of mind to explain their motives well. But the act of trying might, in fact, begin to flip the switch. Get a man talking, he’s less likely to do damage with his blade.

There’s such divinity doth hedge a king, That treason can but peep to what it would, Acts little of his will.

Peep is such a great word here. It is a bit – diminutive…kind of cute. And thinking of treason as cute and innocuous is a pretty clever way to derail it.
I imagine Treason as a giant warrior with lots of armor and hair and swords and what not and he storms his way into places – all beard and sharp weapons – and then he opens his mouth and out comes, “peep.” Like a little baby chick. “Peep, peep, peep.” He lunges. Peep! He attacks! Peep!
And everyone just can’t stop laughing and the giant warrior is defeated with laughs.

Do not fear our person.

Really? The royal we? The royal our here? To his wife? Do not fear our person is very formal language. Very formal. And it’s usually explained as an explanation for why Gertrude should let Laertes go – as she should not fear “our person.” But I wonder if it might be to Laertes, given the formality of the language.
Or rather – it may be said TO Gertrude but it is for the benefit of Laertes…a way to tell him without telling him that he, Claudius, was not afraid.
Or maybe even better – to formally declare he is not afraid of death – that he is protected by some divine bubble. It’s like, a sideways way to say he’s leading a charmed life. He might as well be declaring he can’t be killed except by someone not born of woman. But he would never say it directly…so, sure, he can tell Gertrude not to be afraid for him but it is really a way to shift the fear onto Laertes. To make him hesitate to run a sword through him.

Let him go, Gertrude.

As I write this, it is the day after the presidential election of 2016. It’s a dark dark day from my perspective. And I am horrified and flabbergasted to learn that over 50% of white women voted for Trump. I’m just…stunned. I’m a white woman myself and you could not have paid me enough money to vote for that horrifying racist misogynist sexist dumpster fire. And I’m trying to understand what was going on in those other white women’s minds.
I wonder if it isn’t some thing like this line. Here’s a dark, criminal of a king being righteously confronted by someone who has been justifiably wronged – and Gertrude leaps in to defend Claudius. Not just with words but with her whole body. Has she given over her sense of self to her husband somehow? Does she feel some protective instinct over the darkest king? Does she choose the most powerful man to back and defend? I don’t know. It baffles me. So so much.
What were you thinking my fellow white women?
Are you more afraid of people of color than the most terrifying tyrant we’ve ever seen in this country? I guess so.

And now, as I prepare to upload this to the site, it is almost two years later. And the women clinging to Brett Kavanagh during this hearing are demonstrating a similar impulse to lean into the horrors. I do not understand. At all.

The doors are broke.

The play I’m working on now features a character who is afraid of doors. This is a late breaking development in the character, in the play and solved many dramaturgical problems when it made its way into the piece. It was as if the answer was always there, waiting underneath the ground, waiting to be dug up. It was the final puzzle piece that led to a satisfying ending. It showed up when one of our actors asked “Is she afraid of doors?” And the lights went on. Yes. Yes she is. That’s it. I didn’t think this had anything to do with me. It just seemed like a neat literary solution.

Then I had a session with my Rubenfeld Synergist and it came out that I felt I had two very heavy oak doors protecting a group of delicate dancers – Isadora Duncan style dancers. And I realized that I’d put Duncan herself, as well as a group of delicate dancers/priestesses into a play – probably a year before. I would have sworn up and down that Duncan had nothing to do with me – that that play wasn’t personal. Except of course it was.

And the doors…the doors. The doors in the Duncan play connected to the doors that Zerlina was afraid of in The Door Was Open.

Strange artistic overlap? Motifs? Was I subconsciously working on a theme? Then last night, I was typing up some writing I did about 6 months ago on a novel – a completely separate project in a completely different medium and I noticed myself typing, “She reacted to the door as if it were a demon.”

And damn, if I hadn’t written entirely different character who was afraid of doors. For entirely different reasons of course, in vastly different circumstances – but…if you’d asked me before all of this “Is a fear of doors a thing?”

I’d have said No. No one is afraid of doors. That’s silly. People are afraid of snakes, rats, elevators, planes, etc. But doors? Not a thing. And I certainly am not afraid of doors so these plays are not about me.

Unless we look at them metaphorically and then it might be possible that yes, indeed, some part of me MUST be afraid of doors.