Thursday, October 22, 2009

Countdown: 9 Days--some thoughts on ideas

So it's getting down to the single digit numbers before November 1, and as I was walking through the humid rainy Southern fall weather to my car after work a bit ago, I was trying to think of where the idea for 'In the Bunker', the play I'm going to write this year, came from. Sometimes, if I just think about it long enough, I can remember where the idea came from, but this time, I can't.

I can tell you where the inspiration to write a play about the Holocaust came from. There was a Polish-Jewish pediatrician, Janusz Korczak, who had an amazingly and achingly human story that was just begging to be told in these times ( for those interested). He had about 200 children in his orphanage's care during the creation of the Warsaw Ghetto, and eventually they were liquidated to Treblinka, where they died (at least we think they died--no one knows for sure, but no one saw or heard from them again after they were liquidated). Without going into great detail, Janusz was an incredibly loving, incredibly flawed, incredibly beautiful person, and his has left behind a legacy of learning about children and how they grow that is still extremely important, if not more so today. But I digress.

I wanted to write a play about him since I was introduced to him in Winter 2000, when I took a class called 'The History of the Holocaust', and he has stayed with me for going on a decade now.

So how does that relate to the Goebbels children? It was interesting, because I was thinking about these children, who grew up as the offspring of one of the biggest monsters the world has known, with their godfather being probably the most evil man who has ever existed. But they were children.

Something about them tugged at my heart. I looked beyond where they came from, who their parents and godfather were, and realized Hedda, my heroine, could very well have been me. I grew up with parents who were much older, who both had heath problems, and with a father who was an alcoholic who drank himself to sleep in his chair every night, and eventually to death. As a child, I thought this was normal, until I met the parents of my friends. I realized it was far from normal.

But these children, this life would be normal for them. They were very sheltered and had no base for what to really measure their reality against. So what was it like for them in the last 10 days of their lives? What did Hedda do? What did her siblings do? We know from history some details, but the exact details are lost to time.

What this long drawn out ramble is about is your idea for your play. If you're still looking for an idea, you can look to history, and see what lessons we need to know, and translate them through your heart and mind into something new. You can look to your own personal history, or the history of anything you're passionate about. If you love it, if it burns for you, let it set your world on fire.

Maybe you have a little something in mind, maybe, like me, you have something heavy on your heart, burning there, wishing to be put on paper. There's no time like, oh, 9 days from now, to do it.

No comments: