I’ve learned more in the last 6 years, researching topics I wanted to write about, than I have in the 43 years that came before.
I’ve learned all the hormones associated with romantic urges and sexual gratification (Paradigm), I’ve learned that doctors spend 28% less time with patients of larger size and run fewer diagnostic tests on them (Fat)
I’ve learned the sheer magnitude of verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse women characters experienced in Shakespeare’s “comedies”. (Shakespeare’s Women)
I’ve learned the horrors of sexual trafficking (‘Til the Cold Winter’s Through) and the many different forms of domestic violence can take (Em)
I was given a writing prompt last year. I wanted to be a writer for a 24-hour Play Festival Prime Theatre Company was producing and this was my audition. The prompt was “A scene in which a character is isolated by their dreams.”
Maybe it was the word “dream”, but for some reason, all I could think about were the people brought to the USA as children. The people who spent their entire lives following the rules, given a bit of hope by one President, only to have it ripped away by another. I wrote about 5 pages, basically based on my own ideas and was accepted. The piece was called “Check-In”.
But once I decided to expand Check-In to a full-length play and began to do research, were my eyes opened in a completely new way.
I’ve known for a long time that our country is in a terrible place of darkness. As each day passes, the uglier, baser instincts of some of our citizens are allowed to grow and flourish. The sunlight is intolerance. The water is prejudice. And the words of our leaders are like Miracle-Gro.
But as I researched, I was able to get a sense of the absolute chaos whirling around. Executive decisions, promptly halted by law suits, only to be reversed by different lawsuits. Vague threats, meant to keep a large swath of our country off balance. Authority figures free to make their own rules with very little oversight. The Supreme Court refusing to hear cases related to a portion of our country living in limbo, only to reverse that refusal. Lawyers literally not knowing, from one day to the next, what the rules are; not knowing what to tell terrified humans who have lived here for decades, paying taxes, working, raising families and contributing to the fabric of our…and their…country.
My brain felt dizzy…and on fire. Things I had no idea were going to go into this piece were suddenly on the paper. I ran into a challenge of where to stop, because literally every day there was a new story in the news about the topic of immigration. It was and is ongoing and unfortunately may not be resolved anytime soon.
I would never, in a million years, suggest that I know what it’s like to be a person of color, under the daily threat of being thrown out of the country you grew up in. But I did get a much clearer picture of the fact that everything is connected and everything that is wrong is part of a bigger picture. Issues of immigration, race, reproductive rights, gun control, the poverty gap. These are the issues facing the country we all live in. If it’s a problem for one of us, it’s a problem for all of us.
As with everything I write, I hope Check-In gives the audience something to talk about and something to think about. I hope it reveals something that maybe people weren’t aware of before. I hope you find the information as enlightening…and disturbing as I.
Thank you and don’t forget to vote.