What it's about
Sheriff Will Barnon is finally married and allowed to retire from his sheriff work. However, when news comes that a murderer is coming back to town to cause chaos and kill the sheriff, Barnon decides that he needs to stay, round up a posse, and confront these murderers. But, no one wants to join Barnon's posse.
Enter a void of white. Two pillars, an altar that soon becomes a saloon's bar.
Hear: Gunshots, a train, murder and screams.
See: Flashing strobe lights.
Enter: A cast in all black. A Wedding.
Eyes: Focused on the various movement of the cast. None exit the stage for the length of the play, but react to conversations they are not present to react to. The antagonist of the piece wanders near me. I watch him most of my time here. He wants to know why no one cares about him, only his brother.
The Town: Alone. Stuck, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Not nowhere like middle of the desert. Stuck Nowhere. "There's nothing out there," they say again and again. If they leave, they will be leaving forever and never find anything out there. Stuck, no one knows how or why, but they're all stuck.
The People: Everyone has a gun, no one fires. Everyone agrees that Guy coming back to town is a problem. Not cause he's a murderer but because the Sheriff refuses to leave no matter what. It's bad for business. The town was booming when the murderer was around. Someone betrayed the Sheriff, got the murderer outta prison, owed him a favor. Maybe they all did.
The Train: Existential Threat. Existential Dread. The murderer's on that train. Or Is he? His brother don't seem so sure. The town don't seem so sure. Everyone knows the story ends when the train comes in, but no one knows the ending.
Stuck: Why? Is it the way someone thinks? Is it the way someone feels? Why Barnon hears this news and decides that he is stuck and cannot leave the town? When asked why he came back, it's the same answer "I don't know."
Is stuck a routine? My mornings for the last eight years have been the same. I wake up at an ungodly early hour, before sunrise, to either go to school or take my brother to his school bus. I suffer through my morning because I didn't sleep well, but if I sleep I will run late to school. So, I catch up on school work. I go to class. Some days I enjoy it. Some days I don't. I go home eventually. I suffer my family. I procrastinate on work. I eventually do it. I do it all over again with no attempt to change. Am I stuck?
Is stuck a feeling? Is it that immutable feeling of doubt and depression and worry that comes on me when I least want it? When I find myself trying to be my most inspired, my most focused, my most creative, and this wave crashes into me that makes my head ache, my skin feel cold-but-sweating, my stomach heavy, my brain rebelling against me? Am I stuck?
Is stuck an encounter? When I need to face someone. And I just can't because I love them or I hate them or I just refuse to remove myself from my vaguest feeling of comfort even though I haven't been comfortable in almost a decade. God I want nothing more than to move, but when someone asks me why all I can do is ramble and tell them that I don't know.
Maybe I'm stuck because, like the people in that Nowhere Town, I honestly wonder if any of this matters or will be remembered for anything besides a sad occurrence somewhere remote.
Are you stuck like they all are? If you're stuck, what's sticking you? What is it that you don't think is out there if you run? What is on the train you dread so much?
A play about a Nowhere town with Nowhere people in a crisis is kinda makin' me wonder.
Tell us about your experience.
In the comments below.