Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Going it Alone

*This post has been altered out of respect for a friend who does not wish to be identified. 

I am immersed again, thinking on our missing and murdered. The astounding generosity and ingenuity that is personified by the people of Cahoots Theatre Projects has brought me to a retreat to focus on furthering the script [now called] In Spirit. Among other writers and dramaturgs, in this strange little town of "twee", I think of May 6, 1978.

One girl is occupying the largest room in my mind - fueling the busiest muscles of my heart.

It is a lonely thing in so many ways, this play. I have come off of working on big group development - the Fort at York for weeks, with fourteen other actors and various other staffies, creative and non. The Mill for Theatrefront, with a dozen or so artists I admire newly and for ages. Big groups. Here I sit at the Green Room used by the Shaw festival, the only person. Not one other soul in the room, and it's a big one. In Spirit quickly became a three-person play. I worked with Andy and Michaela as soon as I had a draft to hold in my hands. We invited people to respond straightaway - it was us three or more, always. Today I am alone. This seldom means "lonely" for me, but this time, it does.

The other aspect that has me feeling like a tiny single-celled organism is that I am realizing, more and more, that this play is not enough. It is not enough to write a play about a girl who was murdered, and whose killer was never "brought to justice". Justice can hardly be served in this case. Even if the killer were found, proven guilty, and sentenced to jail for all of eternity, never would his mother glance out the kitchen window in hopes that her child was puttering down the lane on his new bike - "Sorry, mom! I got lost." or "Sorry mom, I ran away, but I came home because I realized..." whatever. No. Whoever killed got to grow up. The murdered did not. This girl did not.

She was imagined into adulthood by all of those who loved her, but she did not do the things that she ought to have done. She was cut short by someone who had no right to make that choice for her.

A play will not change that.

What I want is for the man who killed her - and it was almost certainly a man - to suffer. I do. And it goes against all of the faith that I have in our kind. Us humans. What have we done? How have we bred a person who can commit such an act? Why do I have a hunger for vengeance about this, a desire for the man who did this to suffer worse than any murdered child has ever suffered? He was a child once! It's a safe assumption to guess that he suffered in his youth - he must have to become such a creature. In spite of this, I have no sympathy for him. I want him punished.

A play is not enough. And so the play must demand what is.

Does this serve this girl? Does it serve her beautiful mom? Her sisters? All of those people who were effected by her short time with us? That is my hope. That is my aim.

This week, I do it alone. Never have I been so alone as any murdered woman or girl was in her last moments. And this is just a play. I wish it were more.