Playwright’s Commentary: “Infinite Range”

This year is my second consecutive year of having a one-act play I’ve written be featured in “Stories High;” Bindlestiff Studio’s annual showcase of new works being performed, by way of writing, acting, and directing workshops coming together.

“Infinite Range” is the name of my play, and at the time of writing this blog post, I’ve yet to see it in its final form. Much like I’ve done in the past, today I want to go  over the inspiration, the conception, and the creation of this script.

Two new acquaintances bond over their personal struggles while nursing their drunk mutual friend on the BART ride home. A sign from the heavens hints at potential for a deeper connection.

Last year, I had the opportunity to turn an idea I’ve had with me for years into a stage play when I wrote “Common Ground.” It resonated deeply with audiences each time it was performed; at times to the point of tears.

This time around, I had no idea what to write about. But one thing I knew for sure is that I wanted to mix it up. I didn’t want to write something as dark and depressing as “Common Ground.”

The idea for “Infinite Range” actually was suggested to me by a friend, after I told her of a mini midnight road trip I took with another friend, a few weeks before the writing workshop started up. We hadn’t known each other too long, and so we took this opportunity to get to know each other better. It was also during this road trip that we witnessed a shooting star (which is something I personally had never seen before).

As intriguing of an idea as it was, I was hesitant, for I had never written a fictional story that was inspired by an event from my own life. But the more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that this could actually be a good idea to explore.

Even though “Infinite Range” has its origins in reality, throughout the course of the workshop, it became something entirely different; enough to where I hardly even recognize it as a story that stemmed from that mini midnight road trip. It was one of those cases where the story took a direction entirely on its own and I had no choice but to see it through.

On the surface, “Infinite Range” is about two people, Dante and Justine, getting to know each other, while looking out for their mutual drunk friend. But over the course of the plot, layers peel away as their conversation goes deep about the struggles people of my generation – the Millennial Generation – are constantly faced with; struggles that not even our parents can attest to experiencing at our age.

Despite the subject matter, I wrote “Infinite Range” in a way to where it would have a lot of humor in it. This was the first time I wrote a drunk character, and being a non-drinker, I had to rely on my experiences of being around drunk people to make the character, Gabe, as authentically drunk as possible. In one way, he is the comic relief. But in another way, he is also really the one orchestrating the conversation between his two friends.

You’ll also notice how Peter Gabriel’s 1986 single, “In Your Eyes,” plays quite an interesting role in the play. This is a song that I heard a lot growing up, and I originally had planned to use it for another play, but it never panned all the way through. I initially selected the song for the sole reason of the fact that I like it. But as I made edits to “Infinite Range,” I found ways to not just make it Dante’s go-to song for karaoke. I found a way for it to help tell the story (which, to be honest, is not that different from what I did by mentioning Phil Collins’ repertoire in An Absolute Mind, now that I think about it).

What I hope for audiences to gain from watching “Infinite Range” as part of “Stories High” is that many of us Millennials are in the midst of struggles unique to our generation, but as long as you maintain hope, keep going forward, and inspire each other along the way, the universe will be on your side. Now that might sound like a very Millennial thing to say, but I personally find the concept to be quite beautiful. We all have the potential to have infinite range.

“Stories High XVIII” is now playing at Bindlestiff Studio, with one of the performances actually being tonight at 8pm. Tickets can be bought here.

Also, as a reminder, I will be at the Local Author Book Fair next Saturday at the Mountain View Public Library. If you’re in the area, come on through and hopefully we get to talk story.

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