Theatre, arts, culture, politics, and snark from a practicing playwright and recovering journalist.
Monday, May 11, 2009
A Little Midnight
I've talked a little bit about "Bluer Than Midnight"--my play about the Civil Rights Movement, the Blues...and the Afterlife--a little bit here, but I haven't shared any of it. So, just for the hell of it, here's a sample. Virgil's trying to track down a missing Freedom Rider and aspiring blues musician...on the other side. Naturally, his quest leads him to the Crossroads, where he meets a Stranger. Try reading it while playing the Little Junior Parker tune in the post below....
STRANGER What brings you to these crossroads on such a disagreeable night?
VIRGIL It’s beautiful this evening.
Flash of lightning. Thunder. This continues throughout scene.
VIRGIL Here to meet someone.
STRANGER And who might that be?
VIRGIL Not sure. Thought you might know.
STRANGER Me? I don’t even know you. How would I know your party?
VIRGIL Thought you might be the guy.
STRANGER Is that so? What’s your name?
VIRGIL Virgil. What’s yours?
STRANGER Can’t you guess? Call me.... Well, what difference does it make? Let’s suppose, for conversation sake, I’d be the person you’re looking for. What would you want from me?
STRANGER Oh? I can provide many kinds of information. The thing is, for the information to be of any value to you, it would have to be of value to me. I’m just as helpful as I can be, but I’m not in the habit of giving things away. One must get by, you know?
VIRGIL Got about a hundred bucks left. You can have that.
STRANGER A whole hundred dollars? That’s gracious. But I’m hesitant to traffic in currency. It’s so uncertain. One day, everybody wants it. Time passes, it’s just paper.
VIRGIL If I had gold, I’d give you that. I don’t.
STRANGER Gold is so...heavy. And basically I’m very, very lazy.
Steve Patterson has written over 50 plays, with works staged in Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Tampa, and other U.S. cities as well as in Canada and New Zealand. His works include: Waiting on Sean Flynn, Next of Kin, Farmhouse, Malaria, Shelter, Altered States of America, The Continuing Adventures of Mr. Grandamnus, Bluer Than Midnight, Bombardment, Dead of Winter, and Delusion of Darkness. In 2006, his bittersweet Lost Wavelengths was a mainstage selection at Portland Center Stage's JAW/West festival, and, in 2008, won the Oregon Book Award (he also was an OBA finalist in 1992 and 2002). In 1997, he won the inaugural Portland Civic Theatre Guild Fellowship for his play Turquoise and Obsidian.