Nearly halfway through my 30 DAYS OF FEAR, and I’m dissatisfied with the progress I’m making. So I’m putting a stop to mundane tasks RIGHT NOW and focus on what I want to do with my life. My art.
The Chalk Boy is a coming of age tale of four teenage girls. Its characters are on the verge of adulthood, and all of them are searching for meaning and their role in the world. Spurring this journey is the disappearance of the boy Jeff Chalk, to whom they all have a connection. The play begins as a bizarre guided tour of the events of Chalk’s disappearance but diverges as we watch these four girls grow up. The play may be uncomfortable for some as it involves teenage girls and witchcraft, sexuality, and Christianity, but it is entirely relevant to the reality of life as a teenager. Not only that, but it speaks to a culture awoken every few years by violence, and not knowing what it really is.
If there is any image that sticks with me, it is the use of drawing chalk and wiping it away. The only set of the play is a few chairs and chalkboards, which are manipulated to create the scenes in this sleepy town of Clear Creek. Actors all use contemporary clothes and props to enact these characters and their stories.
The play resonates this year especially because of the recent outbreak of violence in Connecticut that shook many Americans out of our collective insulation. Although not the same manner of violence, in The Chalk Boy, the people of Clear Creek are again reminded that their existence is like a drawing on a chalk board: it can be wiped away, but it is never really gone. This is a theme that comes into play in the paintings of James Howard Kunstler, which I link to you as inspiration for a potential design and production.
And finally, I offer the sounds of Sufjan Stevens. If he doesn’t speak to me on the mood of this play, I don’t know what does.