The enemy of the writer is not the bad review, an empty bank account or even the dreaded rejection letter. It’s that little voice inside chirping: “Why would you write that? Why would you even think that!?” I wrote this play to tell that little voice to shut the hell up.
As a woman, human and writer, I’ve often felt the pressure to be polite, to create nice things, pretty stories; to not write about sex or say bad words. Half Past What? started as thought-vomit and for a long time, I didn’t think that anyone would ever want to see it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted anybody to ever see it.
Eventually, I realized that I was writing a love story. A completely bizarre, twisted one, but a love story none the less. This play explores the sacrifices a person, specifically a young woman, must make within herself in order to truly fall in love with someone else. I realized that much of what I was writing about is what I think of as the ‘millennial condition’ : a generation that so badly wants to connect with one another but can’t figure out how to do that when confronted with an actual person and not a screen.
In my own experiences I found that I had to let go of a lot of conditioned behaviors that could really poison a happy relationship. Society, reality TV, 17 Magazine, my friends fighting through their own insecurities and conditioning, all told me: THIS IS WHAT A RELATIONSHIP SHOULD BE. With this story I wanted to show how the choice to love someone is also a choice to destroy your own individual bad patterns of behavior.
Half Past What? is also an experiment to create a piece of theater that would truly be for the actor-director team. The dialogue is purposefully abstract so that any number of meanings can be drawn out from each line. Likewise, I introduce themes in addition to love that a director may be compelled by and can choose to emphasize to serve their own unique vision. In an early development reading, director Rebecca Radoszkowicz connected to the idea of a society obsessed with excess and access. In her version, the characters Tot and Raf are two washed up party girls, making choices without thought and always trying to keep the fun times going. In this version, Jonathan is very inspired by the male and female dynamics and the allure of physical attraction that drives their interactions. The aesthetic he is creating embraces the absurd style but allows the actors to find clarity through physical choices.
If Half Past What? could be performed hundreds of times I would hope that no production would resemble another…and that’s exactly how it should be! Because when this piece speaks to someone else, that little voice inside my head gets a little quieter.
A graduate of George Mason University’s Theater program, Casey Bauer is a playwright, actor and director. Her play “The Front Line” was recently featured in the Hub Theatre’s Emerging Playwrights Festival. She was one of three winners of the 2012 Theatre of the First Amendment’s First Light Playwriting competition. She currently interns with the communications and development team at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts.