Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dead Soap

Play #54 - Dead Soap by Bekah Brunstetter

Full disclosure - I started two other plays today, and I just couldn't get into them. Perhaps I will come back to them another day, perhaps they will remain dead to me, but if I can't get into your world some time in the first scene... I'm probably going to have to put it down and back away. Sad, but true.


Today's play is a short play in which we first see Coop and MacKenzie in what is clearly a sort of overdramatic love scene in which there are lots of references to other traumas involving missing parents, THE ACCIDENT...all that good stuff. An important part of their story is that he loves her even though he is hunky and she is a bit overweight. But, she confesses breathlessly, she has just had gastric bypass surgery... after which, he will love her even more! Then, there's a big "CUT!" and we discover that the two people we've just been watching are actually Ryan and Caitlin, two actors in a soap opera. It's Ryan's first day, and he's more than a little bit jazzed. Caitlin is more matter of fact, rushing off to use her break time to deal with her... physical needs. So, our eager beaver heads over to the make-up area, where he meets the long-time leading man Farley, who advises Ryan/Coop not to get too caught up in all the glitz and glamour. It's a great gig, after all, but it can all go away in an instant. He also lets Ryan in on a bit of gossip: the gastric bypass is not a plot device, it was an ultimatum to Caitlin: get skinny, or lose your job. As the original pair regroups, Ryan finds out that Farley has just been written off the show over a contract dispute. And as they take their places for the next shot, Caitlin asks the previously starstruck Ryan out... only to discover that, in real life, he is just not attracted to her.

This is really a play all about ideals and illusions. Farley seems to be the only one who is entirely past the power of the illusions - now that he is older, and on the other side of having his ideals crushed a wee bit. Coop and MacKenzie are complete illusions, full of excitement and non-socially-conformist love. But even Ryan's starry-eyed excitement can't get him past the fact that Caitlin is a little too heavy to date. Illusions are everywhere, but they don't remain in place for long. Just a 10-minute break proves to be enough.

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