This week's workshop was Inspiration From Improv. I first read about the connection between theatre and writing many years ago, which is why even though I knew it would take me out of my comfort zone I thought I’d give the workshop a try. Or maybe because I knew it would take me out of my comfort zone.
At any rate, though for the most part I enjoyed the class, I can safely say I suck at actual improv. We weren’t just writing, we also did some physical improv during class. From movement to tableaus to enacting headliners, I was definitely out of my comfort zone. LOL
The first thing we did was circle the table, pretending to move through various landscapes. When we sat down again we were asked to write a brief piece describing one of those landscapes. I chose what it would be like to walk on the moon.
My feet are heavy as I lift them up and set them down, small puffs of dust rising with each weighted step. Too small. Had I been somewhere with more gravity I would be trying to kick up as much dust as possible, just for fun. But there’s no atmosphere on the moon. No matter how hard I step it makes little difference. I can’t even hear my own footsteps. There’s no sound at all, save for that of my own breathing inside my sealed suit. The dust is grey. Everything is grey, here on the moon. An unrelenting grey stretching out to the horizon in one direction and to the equally grey mountains in another. Even the domes we live in are grey - the clothing, the furnishings...How I long for a bit of colour.
Later we were asked to do a monologue. I’m not sure if mine qualifies as a monologue, it seems more to me to be a first person narrative, but maybe that’s what a monologue is. I chose for my speaker my character on the moon.
Life Under the Dome
I always thought the moon was the epitome of romance - moonlit strolls, dancing by the light of the moon, all the poems and songs written about it. But when John first came up with the idea of applying to be colonists on the moon, I thought he was kidding. It was the moon, for crying out loud. Then he showed me the application forms and I was seized by the fear he’d be accepted and I wouldn’t be. After all, he was an astrophysicist while I was just an engineer. But they wanted couples, fertile couples, so I was given a pass, even though I barely squeaked through the training. Crazy, right? After that, things moved very quickly and the next thing I knew I was saying goodbye to my friends and family and giving away all my books and collections. No room for unnecessary items under the dome, you know. But not all the training in the world could have prepared me for the reality of my new life - the cramped quarters, the bland food, the unrelenting grey. I tried to make the best of it, I really did. We were just the first wave after all, and really, what choice did I have? We were here. Forever. There was no going home. John told me things would get better, to give it a chance. But it turned out he was wrong. Things didn’t get better, they were never going to get better. And the thing was, he wasn’t just lying to me, he was lying to himself and the psychologists too. Far from being a romantic adventure, the moon was desolate and depressing. So depressing that one day, without warning, John walked out onto the grey plains and broke the seal holding his helmet to his suit. This was all his idea, and he left me! I feel so angry and betrayed. And don’t think for a minute I haven’t seen the pitying glances of the others. The couples who no matter what have each other while I have no one. Nothing. I carry on my life, alone, putting in my time. I stare out at that unrelenting grey and wonder how soon I’ll be able to follow in John’s footsteps.