Thursday, December 04, 2008

365 # 116: Matt C.

The assignment was to write the most offensive scene possible. Each person was given a theme to work with, and mine was race. Gosh, how could you possibly offend anybody with such an innocuous subject? I ended up writing a scene about a rapping Ku Klux Klansman, complete with copious uses of a particular word that lots of popular rappers use in their rhymes, but that white people really shouldn't sing when they're rapping along, even if they're alone in the car. That's just the rule. Oh, and there was some abortion stuff thrown in there too, just to catch anybody that might not have been bothered by all the race stuff. I felt like I'd really nailed the assignment good.

So it came time to do a reading of these scripts, and Brandon says "Hey, my friend Matt could probably come help us out if we need some actors to read." It was only when I showed up for the reading and met you for the first time that I found out you were black, and it was only then that I stopped to think about how a scene like this might be taken by somebody who A) doesn't know me, and B) isn't white. Sure, I know it's meant to be dark and satirical and offensive, and people who know me would know it too, but what of everybody else? What would this look like through their eyes? Should I, as a writer, even worry about it? It's easy to brush questions like that off in a vacuum, but not when faced with an actual human being.

Thankfully you didn't get upset. I don't think you liked the scene very much, but you recognized it for what it was. Later on, I even got to direct you in another play. And those offensive scenes? Never saw the light of the stage. That's probably for the best. But don't tell self-righteous 23 year old me that I said that.


Julie said...

Matt was really talented. Wish he'd kept acting for us.

And what you fail to mention is that the reason we couldn't stage those scenes is that we couldn't keep actors! They kept coming to us telling us they felt uncomfortable doing the scenes. Of course, in hindsight, I'm glad they did that because we probably would have been run out of town on a rail!

I still maintain that my scene, with its person impersonating a mentally retarded person to be cool (Slo-Tard) and boy band circle jerk, was very tame;)

I still remember when you threw in the coat-hanger abortion to really piss us off. I could have smacked you at the time, but that was awesome!

Brandon Paul Salinas said...


I forgot about that.