Rebecca, a Manhattan paralegal, learns of an explosion in one of her client’s West Virginia mines, which has trapped 13 miners underground. As rescue teams attempt to bring the miners home alive under media scrutiny, her bosses concern themselves more with billable hours than loss of life, forcing Rebecca on a journey that questions everything about her world. What is the distance between those who push paper and those who dig deep? Can working with lawyers teach you to love the undead?
For several years, I worked as a corporate paralegal in mergers and acquisitions while I performed as an actress in theatre, TV, and film. During this time I felt an enormous disconnect between who I was as a person and the work I was doing to survive -- which I assumed was just part of the normal frustration of logging day job hours while dreaming of well-paid time in my creative field. As life went on, however, I realized that I was a full participant in every aspect of my professional world and that my emotional response to my job was important to examine. This became all the more apparent when I was assigned to a project that culminated in the loss of human life during an explosion at a client's mine facility. I was deeply affected by the tragedy and disturbed by my connection to a real life story now being played out on CNN. It became very clear that the business-as-usual means of serving a client has an unseen and profound impact on lives well beyond midtown Manhattan. What is the distance between those who push paper and those who risk their lives?
Today, coal is at the forefront of national conversation. Policy decisions surrounding the environmental and economic effects of coal mining will define the nature of the industry, and indeed of our country, for decades to come. How do we release the past with respect for the multi-generational efforts of this industry's working people? At the same time, how does the United States as a global power move forward with initiative and environmental engagement?
While "Mine" is not about any specific real-life event or person, it explores a world that favors billable hours over loss of human life in a stylized and distorted reality.
THE WORKSHOP PRODUCTION
I was very lucky to premiere "Mine" as a workshop production during the 2017 inaugural season of the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival, a NYC-based festival in which "Playwrights Take Center Stage." (https://www.broadwayboundfestival.com/2017-alumni) The experience was invaluable in prompting me to ask myself more specific questions about the protagonist’s objectives and why her connection to a coal miner from West Virginia leads her to reflection, politicization and finally, self-actualization.
"Mine" sold more tickets than any of the 20 plays presented at BBTF in 2017.
My hope is to start doing a series of readings with an aim toward a larger production. For the past several months I have taken the script apart and revised it according to what I hope will be clarified objectives. I would be thrilled to produce it in a new, less traditionally theatrical space. I have added music to the script and I'd like to see if (a) the songs enhance the text and (b) whether I am able to obtain clearance for the pieces I'd like to use. Visually, my aim is accentuate the language and the story within a clear and simple - yet abstract – design.
"Mine" - by Maria Deasy is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.