Deborah on writing Taking Off

Date posted: February 16, 2017

Playwright Deborah Williams on creating Taking Off

I got an email from an old friend a while back who shared “I’ve been doing this therapy and I’m supposed to look at pruning my relationships. Start cutting people out of my life. I wanted you to know that you’re not on the brush pile yet but your branch is definitely being examined.”

My reaction to this note was outrage and hurt. Which soon turned to delight as I realized that this woman was doing exactly what I wanted to. I’d been toying with the idea of pulling up anchor on my friendship for a while. And not because some trendy therapist told me to, but because since I’ve had children and a career and a husband and a falling down character home, volunteer commitments etc, etc, I am overwhelmed with the responsibility of having so many people in my life. Too many chats, and outings, phone calls and invitations. Too many surprise 50th birthday parties and progressive potluck dinners.

I used to talk to most of my friends several times a week but now I forget until I trip over them in my contact list, Facebook or at some goat cheese centered function every 2nd year. “I’ve missed you. We really should get together.” And I mean it because we’ve shared years of history and layers of intimacy. Shared things that fuse people for a lifetime like apartments, eating disorders and boyfriends. But the planned luncheon gets moved because of a work schedule or biopsy, then put off until “after the holidays” and finally just doesn’t happen. My friendship has become a guilt filled galleon. Thus began Taking Off. I am so grateful to the brilliant Jimmy Tait and Michael Shamata, Ivan Habel and the entire staff of the Belfry Theatre who have supported me through the process of writing this show. The Belfry is a wonderful place for an artist to feel at home.

– Deborah Williams

Photo by Peter Porkorny