The killing letters.Posted: June 29, 2012
“Killing letters” were a big part of my last play, WHAT EVERY GIRL SHOULD KNOW. But they were inspired by actual letters my friends and I wrote to each other in sixth grade. We would travel the world, take celebrity lovers at will, and assassinate our enemies. With our lover as our champion (Wil Wheaton, Joey Lawrence), we would make a grotesque unholy sacrifice of our victim (J. M. was stomped to death by an elephant, P. F. was nibbled to death by origami shrimp) and then dust off our hands and query each other in all sweetness and light: “And where are you in the world, my dears? Where in the world shall I see you next?”
Allison wrote the first letter. I think it was a way for her, and then us, to claim power at a time in our lives we felt powerless. Allison was usually somewhere in the jungle, getting kidnapped and hacking through bush and heroically fighting her way out to the beach. It was really fun to read and write these letters, but I think we were also expressing this idea that one day, unlike this adolescent hell we were in, we’d be in the clear—that we’d be valued for our minds and hearts, that we’d go forth in the world unencumbered, that we’d be able to love whomever we wanted, and be loved back.
Allison’s now a human rights advocate in the Dominican Republic. She visited me to see WHAT EVERY GIRL SHOULD KNOW on closing night. She left me a beautiful letter in parting, which ended with, “But tell me, where do you find yourself now? I shall see you next on a tropical island outpost, where I plan to marry my Cuban violinist love.”
She really will, and she really is. Next week I’m headed to Las Terrenas to attend her wedding on the beach. Our girlhood selves would be so pleased.