Early on in the process, there were some logistical issues that needed to be worked out on just how an atheist and a Christian would collaborate on a stage play about an atheist and a Christian working out their theological differences. About a month ago, I wrote about how my theater comrade, John, and I were accepted into the Minnesota Fringe Festival and were working on a play about apostasy to bring to Minneapolis for the festival this August. Whereas the first draft of the first act came about pretty quickly, the process has slowed because we had another event that had to take precedence and also because there was something we decided we needed to do before we could realistically write the second act:
We needed to get drunk and have an argument about religion.
Since our spoken word event was held last Friday, we set Monday as the evening to get together over gin tonics and god talk. The purpose for doing this, outside of it just sounding like an enjoyable way to spend an evening, was to hopefully get some good off-the-cuff remarks to challenges to John’s Christianity and my lack-thereof. It was all in the spirit of getting some good notes to work off of… nothing too sober, either. After all, the discussion in the play is supposed to be a fight.
In day to day life, it helps that both of us are comfortable and confident in our respective positions. If not, it would be a little too easy for one of us to start getting weirdly defensive, and whereas that could make for some good play dialogue, it would also likely throw a wrench in the gears in the rest of the writing process. In the end, we still have to agree on what it is we’re disagreeing about in the script, and it’d be nice to remain friends once this project is over. But once again, none of this necessarily helps this script. So of course this is where the gin came in, to loosen our desire to be polite. And I must say that it worked pretty nicely! We have yet to really dig through the recording of our theological ramblings, but we each brought up some interesting bits and pieces that we may not have felt that comfortable throwing out on the table without a little liquid courage. And to the best of my recollection, neither of us called the other an asshole at any point.
When I said that I was going to write about this step in the process for this blog, John wanted to set the record straight that he wasn’t actually drunk, just suitably buzzed. In the same air of honesty, as for myself, I wish I could say the same. Earlier in the evening, I found myself in the delightful position of being in one of my favorite bars with a number of drink specials before me, so I had a few beers on the cheap. By the time John and I had roughly the same amount of gin, I was clearly more intoxicated. So if the atheist in the final script has way more witty lines and killer dance moves than the Christian, now you understand why.