is forced to watch his team in the World Series with his neighbor's daughter - who thinks she's dying. It comes to a head when he discovers she's not and must decide between the birds and the bee's or baseball.
BIRDS BEES AND BASEBALL...
Where did this story come from?
I’m a huge baseball fan so I’ve always known about the Cubs lore, but not in too much detail. Then I met this guy about six years ago - he always dresses in Cubs gear, head to toe. This was before the Cubs won the World Series and they still sucked, so it became a running joke every time I saw him, joking about them losing for 106 years, 107 years… I got to know him pretty well and - well, he’s this down and out kind of guy. And I thought that could be a good impetus for a story. A guy who loses everything, and he’s a Cubs fan, and the only thing he has left is that his team is finally in the World Series.
How did you develop the characters?
With Gary, I had a person I was using as my inspiration, so I was able to sit with him and interview him about his life, how he felt about the Cubs and how important they are to him. The man I modeled Gary after has a crazy sad past, but he’s the kindest, sweetest guy. So when I was writing, it never occurred to me that he could be taken as predatory with Rya. To me he was just a guy who wanted to watch the game. And the girl did’t want to be alone - she just wanted company.
I really identify with this idea of secrecy, of pretending to be someone you’re not. Gary only focusing on the Cubs and ignoring every other part of his life. Then Rya, who doesn’t tell anyone what she’s going through and wants to save her father’s - everyone’s - feelings, so that they don’t have to see what she’s going through. But all she needs is to allow herself to be parented and all Gary needs is to learn how to parent. Once I had the relationship between the two of them and the way they need each other, the story took care of itself.
Once the story of Rya developed, it became about much more than just a down and out guy with his team in the World Series. I knew I needed a character that would challenge Gary, and if he had lost everything, I needed someone who felt that she had nothing left and that she was hiding it. Bringing the two worlds together was really exciting for me.
What was the visual style of this piece?
This is my first experience directing my own writing. I didn’t realize at the time, but I was writing the story in a way that really leant itself to using visual metaphor as a way to show the themes of the piece. For example, keeping them physically isolated to represent their emotional isolation. Shooting through the slot of the door, behind the window, through the glass, keeping them in single wides - all of this helped create this sense that the characters are in their own worlds.
I wanted the piece to feel like this encounter had a sense of magic behind it, that it was a special meeting. And I wanted the lighting to reflect that, I wanted it to be beautiful. I wasn’t going for an uber-real tone, but rather an almost magical feeling that reflects these rare encounters in life. I wanted the acting to reflect the raw emotions and the ugliness.