Writing: The Lumberjack’s Friends, a One Act by Ryan Bruce

I originally wrote The Lumberjack's Friends about 8 years ago when I was in need of an original monologue. I discovered it was hard for me to write the monologue without completing the world around the piece. So I wrote a play. It was pretty bad at first. I’ve learned in the past 8 years that’s how it works. Words need to be forced out and stringed into stuttered coherence until a refinement comes along in the way of editing and rewriting. I’ve always loved the idea behind the piece. And that’s what has stuck around in the years since inception.

Originally, the piece was set on an elevator, because, as I like to point out: everyone needs to write a bad play set on an elevator at one point in their artistic career. The biggest step in the right direction was when I moved the action into an office.

So what’s the play about?

Claudia claims she speaks to inanimate objects. Jessica works a boring day job. The already fading friendship suffered a blow when Jessica saw Claudia speak to a strange object outside of an engagement party. Claudia believes she needs to kill Jessica now. But will the voices stop her or urge her to complete the murder? Claudia arrives in Jessica’s workplace afterhours and holds her hostage while combating her own intentions, desires, and destiny.

I wanted to create a piece that 1) questioned assumptions and prejudice against schizophrenia, 2) had the possibility of gender bending in casting, and 3) provided laughter from pitch dark chasms. The gender thing eventually morphed into female characters and a note that they could be male. The schizophrenia, if produced well, will successfully question social norms on the disorder. If done badly, well, there’ll be a huge stereotype onstage. But that’s the sort of beauty in drama: interpretation, be it horrendous or fantastic.

I’ll be putting the play up on the New Play Network and a sample here on my site soon.