R Is for Rainbow

A few weeks ago, just days apart, I had the pleasure of learning that one of my scripts, R Is for Rainbow, had been accepted in not one—but two!—festivals. Anyone who writes and submits work knows that acceptances are jolts of pure pleasure. They're like miraculous blips on a heart monitor that is otherwise flatlining. I'm not dead after all! Which can be hard to believe when the rejections come piling up like snowdrifts or, worse, when the response is nothing. Nada. Zip. [ouch]

I'll be attending one production this weekend, when the play is performed at the Heralds of Hope Ten-Minute Play Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland. It will also be one of six plays produced sometime in 2020 for the Stages Ten-Minute Festival near Portland, Oregon, a city my husband and I have long wished to visit. (Portland is reputedly a vegan paradise).

R Is for Rainbow is an unusual play for me, in that it is sweet, playful, and happy. (Though I hope not sappy). As such, it's a far cry from the dark, wrenching things I mostly write.

Stages' Robert Dodge asked the playwrights for what inspired their script. Here's the story I sent him:

When I was a college student, I worked third shift in a convenience store/gas station. Vendors and suppliers made their deliveries during the early morning hours, and I got to know many of them. There was the bread man, the Frito-Lay guy, the rival Coke and Pepsi fellows, and so on. One morning, one of the vendors asked me to read something for him—I think he wanted help in choosing a flavor of soda—and in the course of our conversation he revealed that he was illiterate. I remember him telling me about his tricks for coping, and I was amazed. After all, he had a demanding fulltime job that required him to drive and make deliveries all over the city. From then on, I realized that literacy and intelligence are two separate animals. This man was charming, smart, and capable in so many ways—except he had not learned to read. My play is a small way to honor people like him, and a reminder that matters of the heart exist beyond words.

It will be interesting to see how differently the productions will be handled by their respective directors and actors. I really like my characters, Lucinda and Elmer. They're good people who are getting a second shot at love, and I'm curious if they'll be as appealing in bodily form as they are on the page. Likely, they'll be more so. Actors are capable of bringing things to their roles that writers never see coming. That's one of the many things that makes writing for the stage such a thrill.

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