A PLAY WITH TWO LIVES: All of the Everything or It’s Too Cold for You Here

Alayna’s report on the Fresh Pages 2018 reading series

For our Fresh Pages series, I chose to work on a newer play. All of the Everything was inspired by a 10-minute play I wrote with the same name. I really loved this play and wanted to explore the Woman character deeper. However, I wasn’t sure if this 10-minute play could exist as a full-length, so I wanted to take time to explore it. 

GREAT NEWS! I learned–in the riskiest way possible–that this piece does have a life of its own. There’s definitely more left to explore and develop, but I discovered how this story could live in a 10-minute and a full-length. 

The 10-minute piece is a nonstop ride with little to no time to adjust to your surroundings. The narrative is meant to feel like the Woman is quickly moving through a children’s pop-up storybook about her and the Man’s future. Then we see how it was abruptly taken away. The magic of this format is that it allows you to live an entire lifetime to understand the tragedy of police brutality from a different lens. It’s not just the life that’s been lost; it’s a future interrupted; it’s a stolen future.

The full-length gives me more time to flesh out the Woman character, primarily focusing on her grieving. We dive deeply into one life affected by the Man’s death. The play follows her through each of the 5-stages of grief. It forced me to ask, what does acceptance look like? Which I’m still trying to answer. I’m also still exploring who the Woman is outside of the man, thinking about desires she had for herself without him. 

I was also really interested in how dance could help express the Woman’s grieving. Many times you can’t find the words, so singing didn’t really feel right, but music felt crucial. Whether that movement is dance, exercise, or fighting those are ways we organically express ourselves when we can’t find the words. Also, sometimes sweating can be a different way for the body to cry… Or is that just me? Any way… Thinking about movement, I developed the character of the Woman’s Shadow. What does it feel/look like when you’ve separated yourself? Your body keeps moving through the world, but your spirit is stuck, refusing to move from a place of pain. 

To wrap things up, I’m most excited to learn that this play is a play, which has led me to change the title, so people don’t get them confused. I’ve now changed the play title to It’s Too Cold for You Here. The Man says this to the Woman, when she wants to move closer to him and decides to let herself sink to the bottom of her depression. I think the title helped change the tone of what we will experience versus what is experienced in the 10-minute.