My new play is full of something I’ve never had in my writing: silent scenes. There are little vignettes in which characters react in silence. They are little moments that define character. I’ve never really had a scene that was completely stage directions, so it’s very strange for me. I don’t know how it’ll work or how it’ll play, but I felt like it was right for the play.
Now, when I say “silent scenes,” I don’t mean devoid of sound. Sound is environmental and necessary. I guess I mean dialogue-less between the main characters.
Another new occurrence is the word “Maybe.” It has crept into my stage directions. It’s very odd. Here’s one of the silent scenes so you can have an idea of what I’m talking about.
In darkness, the sounds of college, late August, afternoon of the first day of class is ending. A busy quad, students shuffling around. Maybe we see some sun start to appear. Maybe a clock tower on a library fades in. The smell of grass.
A man’s voice yells across the quad, “Lindsay! Lindsay! Wait up! Lindsay!”
The clock tower dings the quarter hour.
A small pool of light opens up on the stage. Brian enters, carrying a messenger bag over his shoulder, a few books in his arms, walking with puprose, glad to be done with the day.
Victoria enters from the other direction, wearing the skirt and blouse from earlier, some music scores in her arms.
She and Brian walk past each other; she is oblivious to him. But Brian stops. He turns, looks at her as she walks away, tilts his head as his gaze wanders ever lower. He watches for a while, even after she has left the pool of light. He blows a breath of air out of his mouth in amazement and shakes himself out of his reverie. He continues back on his path.
The pool of light disappears.