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“Dropping Ballast”

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Schäfer, Heldor (Canadian playwright, stage director, 1946-____), “Dropping Ballast,”

a 60-minute comedy-drama in English, set in a shopping mall, around noon, 2002,


  •  © 2002 by Heldor Schäfer;  •  script/rights available from Heldor Schäfer, 4533 Tiedemann Place, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, e-mail my@islandnet.com, telephone (home) 250-477-6055, www.islandnet.com/my/playscripts.  •  Cited by Heldor Schäfer via ftp March 24, 2002; Schäfer says,

  §  Dramatis Personae Bert (m), down-to-earth, an old acquaintance of Marg; Marg (f), elderly, an old acquaintance of Bert; Lil (f), altruistic, poetic.

  §  Synopsis “‘Three People Abandoned In Local Shopping Mall’ could well be the news headline. Of course, as headlines go, it doesn’t tell the story at all. The circumstances in which our three characters find themselves aren’t spectacular in themselves—not enough to even warrant a news blurb. No infant is found deposited on a shopping center bench; no amnesiac left to wander the shops. Yet here are three characters searching out a place where the only interaction between people is commercial—the busy exchange of goods and money. All three are trying to come to grips with loss and being lost. The elderly Marg’s fond reminisces of her family soon become suspect, as she ignores and rebuffs Bert, who obviously is an old acquaintance of hers. Lil tries to exorcise a recent betrayal by doing kind deeds and by taking refuge in poetry. Bert, while down-to-earth, is nontheless evasive about his past and has his own way of telling the truth, as he sees it.

  §  Comment “In the end the question remains, how do we fight abandonment? Do we resign ourselves to it, at least partially? Is it a perception, a feeling we have to come to grips with? Or is each of us abandoned to some extent? And if so, are we in danger of becoming strangers, aliens, to the society that once appeared to embrace us?  •  A minimal set. The stage is divided into three acting areas: (1) a mall bench with plants and a waste bin constitutes the central area for most of the action; (2) in front of the mall’s main entrance; and (3) the at a nearby bicycle stand.”

  §  Themes, abandonment, altruism, balloon, betrayal, bike, cummings (e e cummings, aka Edward Estlin Cummings, U. S. poet, 1894-1962), evasion, friendship, motorcycle, poetry, sense of loss, truth.

See also Heldor Schäfer’s:
  • The Cuckoo Song,” a 60-minute drama in English, set in former army barracks converted to low-cost housing, somewhere in Germany, a few years after World War II, 2m2f


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