if only we knew – polished personal

Prompt: … the role adversity plays in shaping an individual’s identity. 

Text: The Stricken Children – Denise Levertov


TIME: Strong, ambitious, and certain. Time has always been structured throughout his development from a boy to a man. PLACE’s love interest. Although TIME loves PLACE wholeheartedly, he is not a domestic man. Dressed in monotonous colours. 


PLACE: Wistful, dreaming, untethered. Lost. PLACE is TIME’s counterpart, his exact opposite. She is a woman of freedom and innocence that deters with the Wishing Well. She has always been a domestic woman, as she loves tending to the household. Dressed in a colourful sundress.




Cyc up on the Wishing Well, a sacred and peaceful ambience fills the stage with lights of warmth and cleanliness. Time and Place remain on opposite sides of the stage. Sounds of birds chirping in the bright morning.


TIME and PLACE: (to the audience) The Wishing Well. (Glance at each other momentarily with looks of worry and reassurance) 


TIME: A place as old and comforting as an ancient grandmother.


PLACE: At a time where you just really couldn’t understand why.


TIME: I never found beauty in much. Just in the Wishing Well and in you. (Looks at PLACE) An inevitable, simultaneous decay. 


PLACE: Green – the colour of the trees we used to climb and a warm embrace.


TIME: Green – the colour of life and the words you spoke to me.


PLACE: There – the pebbles of past wishes peacefully underwater, old desires forgotten or fulfilled. (Looks at TIME) Will there be a time you forget your wish? 


TIME: Will there be a place your wish is left unfulfilled? (beat) 


TIME and PLACE: We used to be safe here. 


PLACE: We could have saved this place. If you had stayed.


TIME: I couldn’t stay here. We were so young. 


PLACE: But the men in the green jackets-


TIME: Steady and unmoving-


PLACE: That could have been you-


TIME: They took innocent children: the sick and the ailing.


PLACE: They covered the papers with advertisements of self-made identities outside of illness.


TIME: Those children didn’t come back.


PLACE: They must’ve been so happy.


TIME and PLACE: The stricken children.




Lighting shifts to signify TIME and PLACE are children throwing and wishing on pebbles, as if they were prayers.


(TIME is able to skip his pebbles while PLACE eats from a bag of cookies)


PLACE: Uhhmm… Excuse me! (TIME pays no attention) Excuse me! (TIME focuses harder on his own pebble) Hey,  Boy?


TIME: (forced to stop mid swing, frustrated) What?!


PLACE: How do you do that?


TIME: (mockingly, in hopes of scaring her away) Psshh. You don’t know how to skip rocks? What a baby!


PLACE: (ignores his rudeness) What did you wish for?


TIME: (unkindly) Don’t you know you can’t tell your wish to someone else? It won’t come true.


PLACE: Oh, okay! (to herself) Oh, my God! I think he likes me. (glances at TIME and smiles. TIME rolls his eyes and she giggles. PLACE finds a pebble and holds it close to her heart, closing her eyes in a prayer of sorts) Dear Wishing Well, may I see this boy again! (PLACE tries to imitate TIME’s form in throwing the pebble)


TIME: (slowly approaches her) C-can I have a cookie? (PLACE smiles)


PLACE attempts to get closer, but she gets lightheaded and must take a seat. 


TIME: Are you okay?


PLACE: I don’t feel good.


TIME: (taking a seat beside her, takes the cookie without asking again) You better go home before the men in the green jackets find you. They might not take you back home like they promised in the papers.


PLACE: What do you wanna be when you grow up?


TIME: I dunno. Probably someone that instigates change. My mom says those are the best type of people. Don’t you think you should go home?


PLACE: I dunno who I wanna be yet. 




Lighting shifts to Present day.


PLACE: That was the first wish.


TIME: I started coming back more often to see you.


PLACE: If only we knew that green wouldn’t be the way you looked at me anymore.


TIME: If only we knew that the Wishing Well wouldn’t be ours anymore.


TIME and PLACE: If only we knew.


PART 4: 


Lighting shifts to adolescence. TIME and PLACE share a bag of cookies.


PLACE: … Well yeah, that’s why my parents think I’m too young to have kids.


TIME: You’re 15.


PLACE: Yeah, yeah. I hate when they say that. They really do their best to keep me bubbled, like, I’m not that sick! I don’t think the men in the green jackets will take me yet. I don’t know, though. I feel so lost, almost trapped in my own body. It’s kind of hard to explain. 


TIME: I guess I understand… I think you’d be a great mom, just maybe not yet. I just wanna get out of here.


PLACE: Your dad’s are still giving you trouble, huh?


TIME: They know how much I hate this town. There’s so much more waiting for me in this world. I could find the cure to diseases or be the first one who can figure out how to end world hunger. But he still wants me to own the business when “the time’s right”.  I know exactly who I want to be, who I need to be. I promised my mom that I would instigate change before she passed.


PLACE: You got it all figured out. It can’t be that bad, the town, I mean. I wouldn’t want to be doing inventories for, I don’t know, bandages my whole life! But this town is home. This is the only Wishing Well you’ll find.


TIME: You’re the only one keeping me in this God-forsaken town. I’ve been wishing too many pebbles into running away and colonize Mars, or something. That would instigate change. 


PLACE: Maybe now’s not the time yet. And besides, I don’t know if I could ever leave. I don’t know if I’ll get any better, you know, the men in the green jackets and everything. Maybe I should just give myself to them. I could be my own person.


TIME: I promise they won’t take you. (grabs a pebble and mutters quietly) Dear Wishing Well, may I escape this town one day, and hopefully she’ll come around and run away with me. 




Lights shift to Present Day.


TIME: That was the second wish. 


PLACE: You knew it wouldn’t come true.


TIME: I don’t think I could’ve lived without believing.


PLACE: Maybe it was better this way. Maybe this was the only way you would have cured diseases or end world hunger.


TIME: You were never sure about anything, but me. But you started to see the world in green.


TIME and PLACE: If only we knew.




Lights shift to adolescence, but obviously dimmer. The Wishing Well is dirtier now, TIME continuously picking up trash.


PLACE: At this rate, I don’t know if I can leave the house much in my condition. Maybe you could visit me at home.


TIME: You know I’m leaving tomorrow.


PLACE: And we could make cookies every week.


TIME: I have a future ahead of me out there. 


PLACE: (talks over him) You can help take care of me. I can’t depend on anyone else, not even myself. And when Mom isn’t home, you can take me here, even for 5 minutes. The men in the green jackets won’t find us—


TIME: (frustrated) You know I can’t stay here anymore. I can’t live in this small town where all my future has in store for me is restocking shelves of bandages, and look! The Wishing Well is covered in filth. Do I want everything I stock up on those shelves to end up here, destroying our Wishing Well? I’m coming back. When I have my life together and I’ll take you with me. You will be safe in your home.


PLACE: You can’t leave me, not when I’m like this. They’re gonna take me. (beat) You know what? How bad can it be with them? You know what? I’ve never made a decision for myself. (weakly finds a pebble, to herself in prayer) Dear Wishing Well, may the time be right and he finds himself with me again. I don’t know who I am without him. But there’s something drawing me to the men in green jackets. Maybe it’s the promise of finding who I am.




Lights shift to Present Day.


PLACE: That was my last wish. 


TIME: The Wishing Well decayed with her body.


PLACE: The well was so polluted with filth, my pebble couldn’t even sink in. 


TIME: I promised to come back to you.


PLACE: I didn’t have much left to give. 


TIME: I did come back to you.


PLACE: I realized without you, I could dream.


TIME: I came back to you.


PLACE: I realized I didn’t need you to be who I am.


TIME: I’m right here.


PLACE: I wished to make you one more batch of cookies to share by the Wishing Well.


TIME: Our well – polluted by children who don’t dream, or dismiss their own desires.


PLACE: I never got to tell you how proud I am.


TIME: I never got to show you that I turned out okay. Maybe you’ll come back to me one day.


PLACE: The children don’t come back. I’m sorry. 


TIME and PLACE: If only we knew.


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One thought on “if only we knew – polished personal

  1. Dear Mia,
    Oh my god. OH MY GODDDD THIS IS AWESOMEEEE. I love this script so much holy moly. The contradictory statements between the two of the characters, the constant saying of “when the time is right” or “when the place is right” , the duality of it all, omg goalsss.
    Now, my AP brain isn’t rlly working right now (honestly, is it ever?), so didn’t quite understand who the men in green were (the huntsman from Snow White? Members of an army? Honestly, this is probably more my fault than yours, so bear with me), so think I missed an important symbol in this story, but otherwise, think you did a nice job with incorporating your prompt into this piece. Both Time and Place’s realization of what they needed to know the most did a really nice job of showing how the each found their identities, and their shared adversities of escaping the people and world around them really guided them to their final realizations.

    If I had to change anything, I think It would just be to make things a little more explicit, but at same time I understand that this is a creative piece, so that’s kinda weird to do. But honestly that was really it. Also I adore this piece, you need to bring this to life.

    To wrap this up, I would just like to express my love for you and your work. Mia, you are a true artist and really big inspiration to me. I’ve never really been great at writing creative stories or scripts, and I have to say, this really is an exemplar in my eyes. Thank you being the wonderful person you are, and I wish you luck in whatever stressful things are coming your way over this break.

    With lots of love, your fan girl, Simran

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