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Goodbye Stranger

by Anna Reynolds 

Posted: 21 February 2003
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Summary: This is the first 2 scenes of a non-linear play, which is a collection of 21 scenes featuring characters who may or may not be linked, may or may not be telling the truth....

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Agnieszka Ryk at 18:44 on 22 February 2003  Report this post
This is a very strange and impressive piece of work and strikes me as the writing of someone fully in control of their craft. I would love to learn more about the ideas that went into this and perhaps its influences. I have quite a limited knowledge of theatre, but there seem to be echoes of both Beckett and Ionesco here - or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Anna Reynolds at 15:54 on 23 February 2003  Report this post
I'm not a fan of either- my influences are Caryl Churchill and Howard Barker, if anyone, but thanks anyway! I wrote the play- of which I might post more at some stage- in response to a residency at a drama school, where I had 32 acting students that I had to write parts for, and my way of doing this was to give them 21 scenes that can be played by the same or different actors, gender can be swapped around and the scenes themselves can be played in any order.

Jibunnessa at 21:09 on 16 March 2003  Report this post
Humour with neurosis. Potential for darkness. I like it. And I'm intrigued. So, post some more.

Hilary Custance at 15:23 on 22 April 2003  Report this post
Anna, I am envious. You have caught a particular dark tension that I am striving for in the opening lines of the novel I am working on. You have written about suspended reality in which apparently real things persist in happening and we persist in our need for explanations. Thanks, Hilary

tweed at 20:42 on 09 May 2003  Report this post
Love it...and you know what? I wish I'd never seen my father-in-law's dead body because it's there, etched forever in my brain. He was such a lovely bloke and now it takes me forever to conjure up a pleasant image.

Lisa at 19:04 on 24 June 2003  Report this post
Very thought provoking.

I love the dry humour combined with the more chilling paraonoia (particularly VIN)

I also like VIN's illogical need for CAL to count the knives despite suspecting her (assuming it's a her) of doing the cutting. It suggests fear and yet the desire for reassurance and the safety they otherwise find in each other when they curl up. Contradictory and very human!

The language feels very real too.

The two perspectives give the piece an unusual edge. Would love to read more.


Account Closed at 18:27 on 25 February 2004  Report this post
I very much enjoyed reading your work Anna!

Talent must truly represent fusing two peoples emotions so seamlessly; as if putting the reader in a dark corner of VIN and CAL's room and forcing them to read the characters words right from their own lips.

Most impressed, although in honesty I expected little else.

Dominic at 13:37 on 24 May 2004  Report this post

I liked this. Spent the first page guessing the sex of Vin and Cal. At first I read it as two men - I think the surreal nature of the parallel conversations the two of them had made me think of Waiting for Godot.

Didn't find much to say in terms of constructive criticism, sorry. I'd love to read more when you knock it out.


Anna Reynolds at 13:44 on 24 May 2004  Report this post
Thanks- there are about 20 scenes in the whole piece, written for 32 actors who all had to have a part, and they can be played by any gender combination, which is interesting and makes it playful.

ktorn at 21:09 on 12 November 2004  Report this post
Wow, very moving and somewhat twisted. I wasn't sure if I was scared or going to laugh. There was definately tension. The wording was so great that it conveyed emotion while seeming very realistic and casual. Great visual images of knifes and cutting, especially not seeing the killer's face. Great job.

Courtney S Hughes at 08:47 on 24 December 2004  Report this post
I agree with all the comments above, there is the suspense, there is fear and a clear dependancy between the two characters. Interesting that you managage to fuse trust and fear between these two characters, there is clearly a love in this relationship and the relationship itself seems real and long standing.

By writing asexual characters you have left a lot of scope for the director do not only cast who they want but also create their own relationships: are they husband and wife? Are they brother and sister? two old sisters? to homosexual males? two pigs in a slaughter house (the Orwel Edge). Its fun to have so many possibilities and like the others I would like to see more.

Are there ever any more than two characters present on stage at any given time?

Criticism!?? Well, if pushed I would say that despite its non-linear structure and the vagueness of whether or not the characters are linked or telling the truth then I would be forced to ask where is it going? Are the scenes looking at something in particular? is there a message? is there meaning beyond each scene? Is it an exploration of fear or of feelings and if so why? Without more to read it is hard to see where its coming from. Perhaps it is art for arts sake?

Is it like Schnitzler's 'La Ronde' in so much that they are linked by theme? Here we see several 'relationships' and the overall impression is that it is a story about promiscuity and people all looking for something different from a partner emotionally and physically. Are all your characters also looking for emotional support or reassurance from their counter part?

Anyway, it is very well written and well structured, sometimes poetic and very dreamy... Yes, I liked it!

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