Minutes that change lives.
Minutes that change lives.
Change is the most dramatic and compelling element in a play. We watch to see how our characters will be different at the end of the play than they were at the start. Or at the end of this scene. Or this monologue. Or this line. The One-Minute Play Festival can most effectively capture that moment of change, of transition.
Watching the plays last night, we witnessed births, deaths, greetings, good-byes and the starts and ends of relationships. I can’t speak for what inspired the other plays of the night, but I know both of my plays came from deeply personal places. Dominic had asked us to deliver moments that put a finger on the pulse of the artists living and working in Boston right now. And boy did we ever deliver.
For me, I used one of my minutes for some theatrical therapy. I put my own worst nightmare on stage. The men in my family have proposed in laughably awful ways, the details of which I won’t bore you with, though they are stories I love to tell. My special someone knew that our moment was likely to come at the most unlikely of times, in the most unromantic of ways. “Tad” and “Noel” were thinly-veiled versions of Todd and Noah. An uneventful night of take-out, DVR-ed TV and laundry takes a suddenly romantic turn. I wanted to show the world’s lamest proposal, but it kept turning to a point where the display of affection and real feeling was unavoidable.
When I finished the play, I realized I’d already decided I had to ask Todd to marry me. It was entirely unexpected. I contacted some of my best friends for advice, suggestions, moral support and a general reality check. Now it was only to figure out how to do it.
I didn’t want to settle for the proposal I knew was inevitable. Something lame and low-key. I brainstormed ideas of ways to get it done, knowing full well I was facing a ticking clock. When my play ended, my feelings would be out there for him to see. My general inability to make hard and fast decisions and my poor planning skills meant every opportunity to propose got away from me. My big New Year’s Day plans came and went, and I knew that I had to do the thing that had seemed the most obvious from the outset, though it terrified me.
I reached out to Dominic and asked if it might be appropriate for me to propose at the close of the OMPF performance we were attending. When he responded, he was eager to help me make this moment everything I could have dreamt of. He talked me through the way the show would end, and I told him I could handle everything else. The actors were well-rehearsed to make space for us and seemed genuinely eager to share the moment.
Sunday was a frenzied one for me. My beloved Indianapolis Colts were playing in their first playoff game (which they sadly lost to Dominic’s own Baltimore Ravens) and I couldn’t miss the game. I pulled up a barstool at the Coolidge Corner Clubhouse and proceeded to look like a lunatic for 3 hours. During commercial breaks I pulled out my phone so I could rehearse the speech I’d written. I’m sure everyone wondered who the crazy man in the Colts jersey muttering to himself at the end of the bar was.
I was lucky that the OMPF performance we had chosen would be webcast. I sent out emails to my family and closest friends across the country (and my best friend was actually arriving in India when this would all be going down). Of course, I sent them first no link and then the wrong link and had to frantically correct that at the last minute. The course of true love never did run smooth, they say.
After dinner and drinks with a couple of my closest friends (I needed someone to be a buffer so I wasn’t forced to avoid spilling the beans all night!), we settled in to our seats to watch the fest. As we waited for the lights to come down, Todd leaned over to me and let me know that he was anxious. It was dramatic irony at its finest. If you wrote that into a play, no one would believe you! My friends laughed and I resisted the urge to say “You’re anxious? I’m anxious to get on with the show!”
I am grateful the plays were so good. I was able to more or less forget about what was coming for the duration of the night. Intermission was touch-and-go, as my plays were near the end of the first act, so I had to ask the loaded question “What did you think?” in regards to the play about us. That minefield passed, and the rest seemed easy by comparison (Though I must admit I stopped paying attention a little bit during Clump 7 as I was frantically running my own lines).
When I got up on stage to take part in my own one-minute play (who am I kidding? I ran way long!) and prove to myself that I was capable of a grand romantic gesture, I could feel the anticipation of the actors behind me and the audience in front of me. But ultimately, when Todd joined me on stage and had the opportunity to ask him to spend the rest of his life with me, I was overcome with emotion. I hadn’t realized how scared I would be for that moment, or how much saying those words to him would prove to me even more that I was making the right choice. I suddenly find myself eagerly anticipating our wedding day, since I’m certain those feelings will be magnified. As someone who’d never been a huge “yay marriage!” kind of person, I get what all the fuss is about now.
Thank you to everyone onstage and behind the scenes for helping to make this moment possible. The outpouring of love and support from friends, family, colleagues and strangers has truly been overwhelming. I love working in a community filled with such love and support, full of people who would go out of their way to help me take such an important step while simultaneously sharing it with friends and family far and wide.
Anyone who thinks you can’t possibly have anything worth saying in One Minute should talk to me. Our lives are made up of single minutes that make us the people we are.
One Minute changed my life.
The 2nd Annual Boston One-Minute Play Festival in partnership with Boston Playwrights’ Theatre will run Jan 5-7 at 8PM at BPT. Tickets are $20 and available here.The Jan 6th performance will livestream howlround.com’s New Play TV.