CROSSING THE LINE
by Arthur Meiselman
Currently Under Option.
The setting is space and light on a variety of platformed levels. With the addition of a few geometric shapes, each scene can be quickly arranged. Though this play is set in a technological milieu, it demands an absence of high-tech
stagecraft. No multimedia, no mixed-media, no performance art. Shifting areas and lights... many lights, overhead, sidecast, primary colors, high contrast. The style is fast-paced, high energy and driven by "stop-and-go". This is
much more than the traditional "freeze-blackout" since stop-and-go compels stage-time and real-time to continue without any apparent difference. There is no indication as to the ages of the characters. The caveat is this: If one
character is young, they are all young. And if one character is old, they are all old. Ethnic and racial considerations are irrelevant
She... is a woman who thrills at playing games. He... is obsessed with recreating a lost relationship which he no longer believes was real. Marti and her friends roam chat rooms and mailing lists in search of fun, and seemingly
safe adventure. She has created an alter-ego: an exotic uninhibited, often kinky, often troubled woman. She loves the role and pursues it with great enthusiasm. In her Internet wandering, Marti discovers a therapy channel which
allows interaction between people with problems, and "professional" therapists. Joel has also created a role for himself: a therapist who doubts conventional practices and is exploring new age and alternative approaches. He offers his
services free. They meet via e-mail and there is an immediate, resonant connection; she pursuing the thrill of the game, he pursuing the memory of a relationship. It begins comically, romantically and then becomes addictive.
They move from computer to live conversation via telephone, many conversations, day after day, especially late at night. Each is unable to let go of the pursuit. Marti's friends become worried; she waves them off. Joel's friends are
equally concerned. He, too, shuts them out. Finally, Marti and Joel agree to meet in the guise of their personas, since each believes the other's is real. Now the game, the pursuit evolves into a complex maze of confrontations, daring
crosses and counter-crosses, and dangerous attempts to penetrate the privacy and secrets of each other's personality. The fight-or-flight relationship becomes absorbing and frightening. To gain a hold on herself, Marti introduces the
"real" Marti into the relationship, as a friend and confidante. Joel counters by introducing the "real" Joel as his friend and confidante. Caught up in a web of self-deception and mixed identities as they explore the
many roles that they (and we) are forced to play, Marti and Joel are driven to a conclusion that nearly destroys them. This is a play of ideas of love, of illusions and transparent masks.