July 27, 2020

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

David Riaz Zaman

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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.