This play was an inspired action. A few years ago I happened to turn on a FRONTLINE program which documented the progression of several patients who were suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. One man’s experience in particular struck me very hard. He was a highly intelligent entrepreneur who, after learning of the decline he could expect to experience, decided to end his life before his quality of life disintegrated. This program was the beginning of the inspiration for my writing Careful What You Wish For.
I could not get this man out of my mind. After much convincing, his wife agreed very reluctantly, only out of great love for him, to assist in this tragic situation. Assisted suicide is illegal so they had to do research to find out the securest way (for his wife) and the absolute certainty that their chosen method would work. It amazed me that he never seemed to be depressed and even proudly displayed the beautiful wooden box that would hold his ashes. He always was a man in as much control of his own destiny as he could be and that was the motivation for my writing this play.
I write for people to see the plays not to have them sit on a shelf gathering dust. Because I usually produce my plays myself I deliberately have few characters (two or three) and very minimal sets (that is the entrepreneur in me). Truth be told, I write plays and stories for me to act in.
First, I wanted to write a story that could be done easily anywhere. I didn’t want it to be maudlin or depressing because who wants to watch one or perform in a sad piece – show after show?
I belonged to a group of playwrights who would bring in pieces of their work and we would discuss them together. When I started writing this piece the positive response was overwhelming. I was encouraged from the first page to keep on going, that I had something unique and very entertaining … yes entertaining because that’s what I am in my bones.
I write in a stream of consciousness style first as an actor creating a back story for each of my characters … why they are together, how they came together and why they remain together. What is their glue? The most important word is WHY?
Listen to Judy Stadt talk about her play Careful What You Wish For.
Read other Judyisms articles.