Backstory: Still Life with Elephant
Where do I begin?
To do this play you need elephant ears.
Preferably a set with two doors, but you can make do without.
Lots of excess "stuff," just stuff anyone would have around an apartment, like magazines and knick-knacks and books and maybe a briefcase. Photos, maybe. Ideally, breakable things.
And then you have to trash the son of a bitch at the end.
And this is why this play never gets done. Or, at the very least, it gets done once.
There's no great deepness here. It's me doing the obvious "let's realize a concept in physical form" meme again, this time as a big-eared, fun-loving, Chinese-food-expecting, set-trashing metaphor.
I suppose I can tell this story freely. My (now) wife and I had split up at one point while we were dating and then got back together. And there was this thing in the air between us, this whole marriage thing that I wasn't sure I was up for again because it came with the kid thing which I also wasn't so sure about. We had started to talk about maybe moving in together, but the thing hadn't really been talked about. And if I remember correctly, we were at Castle Island in South Boston, sitting on a grassy hill looking out over the water, and we started to talk about it.
And it became known as Elephant-Killing Day.
This play grew out of that, and out of every situation I've ever been in where the Big Undiscussed Thing has sat like a steaming pile of obvious in between two people.
The Chinese food is in there because it's funny to hear an elephant use the term "kung pao."
And someday this thing will see the light of stage again.
The answer is no--I didn't have a specific problem in mind for this couple when I wrote the play. It's more fun for the actors, I think, to explore that between themselves and come up with the backstory for it. It can be anything from I love you to I don't want kids to hey, listen, about that rash I've got...