July 27, 2020

When Despair is such a familiar, self-destructive ‘friend’, how is achieving Hope ever truly possible?

David Riaz Zaman

Drama, stage playRayla Clay ... and the following day, 2020

What the play strives to communicate is an immersive journey, set in one room, the ever-present now. In creating a Magic Realist drama about Hope vs Despair I was delving into the experiential, where “write what you know” seemed credible in terms of motivation, but lacking in terms of how to communicate the experience. What I found meaningful was to ‘shape shift’ time, where the younger and older version(s) of the central character (Ray/Rayla) existing on stage at the same ‘present time’ seemed dramatically stimulating, theatrically tantalising, and organically ‘correct’ as a means of expressing how habitual-addictive behaviour impacts this young life so old. As an examination of a father-daughter relationship, where the continuum of love-hate co-exists, my aspiration was to create a world of universal truths – about addiction, abuse, escape – where the characters bleed with the open wound of truth – finally; about squandered time, the road not taken, shame and blame, choices, and, ultimately, how closure, even love, is possible against seemingly insurmountable odds. A key line, “look closely, the beautiful may be small”, resonates, and what began as cathartic ‘vomit’ has, I hope, culminated in a bold, humanist play about saving and being saved.