Sometimes a Breakup Isn’t a Loss, But a Lesson: Our Voices XII Guest Blog, by Fabiola R. Decius
On September 30, 2018, I participated as one of the selected playwrights in the 12th Annual Our Voices Festival for the fourth year in a row. This annual event is one of my favorite theater highlights each year, and I love being in the room with other female playwrights and actors. Together, we’re able to foster community, support each other, all while promoting the arts!
During this year’s event, I presented a ten-minute play, Caution, which takes place in a park on a warm summer day. Caution tells the story of two friends turned ex-lovers, Emmanuel and Rachelle, trying to reacquaint themselves with one another after their breakup and time apart.
This play was written a few years ago while I was in graduate school at Lesley University and was inspired by a friend’s breakup. I revised this script multiple times, with at least six to seven revisions. When the idea was first conceived, I thought it would be easy to write, when in fact it has been one of the most challenging ten-minute plays I have written thus far.
This play is built upon my strong belief that when someone shows you who they are the first time, you should believe them. A lot of times when couples break up, there are often promises to change and then they eventually get back together. Things may seem picture perfect again, even if temporarily, but ultimately the old habits return, and then the couple realizes why they broke up in the first place.
For example, take these few lines of dialogue from Caution, in which Rachelle has an “Aha” epiphany moment and realizes why she and Emmanuel initially broke up.
Thank you, Emmanuel. Although this meeting wasn’t what I expected, it was very enlightening.
Enlightening in what way?
For months now, I kept trying to figure out what made me want to break up with you, and I couldn’t for the life of me remember. All I remembered were the good times, but now it’s all coming back to me.
The caution signs. They were everywhere.
You’re not ready for a relationship, Emmanuel. You play the blame game, and all you can see are my faults, but it takes two to make a relationship work, just like it takes two to ruin one. I accept my part in our breakup, but you have to admit that it wasn’t all me. You’re to blame as well.
I can’t believe you still think that when you were the one who wanted more. If it weren’t-
You’re right about that. I did want more, but not anymore. It’s just not worth it. You’re not worth it.
I had two amazing actors, Jamaal Eversley and Rachel Nagin, play the roles of Emmanuel and Rachelle, respectively. While they both enjoyed the experience of participating in Our Voices XII, Jamaal shared his thoughts with me:
As an actor, I was grateful to be part of Our Voices. The collaborative nature of the festival shows how support can strengthen an individual’s voice when they are at their most vulnerable. I also enjoyed the Black Box Theatre we performed in at Wellesley College because it set an intimate feeling for the play. It allowed the audience to feel as if they were there with the characters as well.