makers making meaning
makers making meaning
Developing New Work: The Moment Before
When actors are building an inner life for characters, often they'll begin by creating - in their imaginations - what happened immediately prior to the events of the scene at hand. This is called "The Moment Before."
Of course, most actors don't have the advantage of the playwright's active presence during the rehearsal process! Playwright drew david combs gifted this nugget of short fiction to the actors playing Sam and Cali in his play Sharp Country.
Hey Sammy, I just landed at the airport and I want to have a drink with you. What do you say?
uhhhh who dis?
From Harbor High.
no i remember
Can we meet up?
yeah of course
Is there a bar in town?
we could go to the axe-throwing place
it’s a bar where you can throw axes
let’s go to Lucky’s
i work there i can get us free tater tots
Is there anywhere else we can go?
not that sells alcohol
Lucky’s it is, then. I’ll meet you in about an hour?
Cali wrinkled her nose at Sam’s final response, a string of emojis she couldn’t decipher. The car rolled to a stop and she looked up to see the front doors of her hotel.
“That was fast,” she murmured.
“It was! Don’t forget, five stars Miss.” The driver gave her a goofy grin and a bottle of water as she got out. “Have a good stay!”
As soon as she rolled her suitcase into the room, Cali descended on the mini-bar. She grabbed two of the little bottles of vodka and cracked one open. She clinked them together in a little “cheers” and tipped the first one into her mouth.
“Was that sad?” Cali laughed. “Is it sad that now I’m talking to myself? Or. Or I’m talking to you, Mom? I don’t know if you’re listening right now but…I miss you. I––I don’t know what you’d say if you knew I was gonna see Sammy again. I mean the only reason I’m seeing him again is because of your funeral. This isn’t how I wanted us to meet again. I thought he’d have. I don’t know? Left? I guess you never left either. Ginny never left.”
Cali unscrewed the lid of the other little vodka bottle and drank it quickly. She didn’t actually want to think too hard about anything, she realized, except perhaps what she and Sammy might get up to. She shook her head to clear the thoughts away and set about getting ready to see him.
Sam was already at the bar when Cali arrived. He had gotten them a booth near the back and he waved her over excitedly. Her heart sank into her stomach as she recognized several of the faces at the tables around her. Not everyone was staring, but Cali felt hot eyes on her from every corner of the bar. She hurried over to Sam and the staring intensified.
“Busier than I thought it would be,” Sam mumbled by way of apology.
“Get us some drinks?” The request, delivered in sugary tones, instantly sparked Sam’s flight response. Cali tucked herself into the booth and pretended to check her emails until Sam returned with two drinks.
“To Meredith,” Sam said, raising his glass. Cali froze. “Oh, I’m sorry, I––“
“No, no, you’re right. We should toast her. To Mom.”
The clink of their glasses meeting seemed to echo around the bar. Various groups were taking turns staring with their tablemates. Cali fought a hot flush rising up her neck to her cheeks.
“We don’t have to stay here,” Sam offered. “We could go to my apartment.”
“Can we?” Cali gulped the rest of her drink, to Sam’s surprise. “Let’s go now.”
“Okay!” Sam half-chuckled. He poured the rest of his drink into his mouth and swallowed quickly. “You don’t want those free tots?”
“I don’t. I don’t want those free tots.”
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