On October 10, 2008, Eclectic Theater Company of Seattle opened a new production of my drama The Little Death under the direction of L. Nicol Cabe. Over a decade ago, Gypsy Theatre Company gave the play its first production in Houston, and in the years between these stagings, life has spun me around more than once. I have pursued numerous other projects, including novel writing, casting my work out into the world and hoping it finds receptive readers and audiences. In Seattle for the play’s opening, I enjoyed hearing the actors’ interpretations of and speculations about their characters and gained fresh perspective on my writing of years gone by. Then, the promising young director, who earned her theatre degree just two years ago, showed evidence of an old soul in her Director’s Notes for the playbill:
“While talking up this play to friends, I’ve referred to the show as a ‘bodice-ripper,’ ‘exactly what the title makes it sound like,’ and a ‘Southern Gothic dark romance.’ The show’s title, a delightful French euphemism, leads naturally to these assumptions of the play’s content.
As assumptions go, this one isn’t wrong. The show is indeed about sex and orgasm. Of course, to say the show is only about sex and orgasm is to do it a great disservice. Though steamy as night on the Louisiana bayou, or as wild as a Mardi Gras party, this play is not a superficial spectacle of lust and avarice. It is an exploration of what lust, jealousy, avarice, possessiveness, and insecurity can lead to in our relationships. It is the tragedy of lovers who will not, indeed cannot, communicate with each other outside of physical passion. It is an intrigue of alliances forged, and false assumptions believed, and human justice imposed. Ultimately, no one can survive without confrontation, and that confrontation comes far too late.
In a way, I suppose, it is a morality play, showing us on the mirror stage what can happen if we are too selfish or too timid. But more than that, it is a tragedy that we have all experienced at least once in our lives—meaningful relationships destroyed because of our carelessness. It is a tale of hubris and fallen heroes, through which we are not merely instructed—we experience catharsis because of these characters’ sacrifice." ~ L. Nicol Cabe