Friday, May 28, 2010

Vampire Amorality & Immortality

What appealed to me about writing a play about vampires was the concept of immortality, and how the indefinite passage of time would affect the characters' morality and personality, something that's rarely delved into in vampire stories. It's hinted at every now and then in TV shows and movies featuring vampires—Angel will have a bad dream reminding him that he'll never be able to marry Buffy, and Mae will mention off-hand that she'll be around to see the light from the exploding stars vanish—but rarely focused on, and it was one of the ideas that I found the most interesting when writing The Little One.

Hypothetically speaking (well, duh), being immortal would obviously not only affect your worldview and your stance on killing—you'd see so many lives come and go so quickly, killing would become a very abstract concept, like swatting a mayfly just before it dies of old age—but also your stance on morality as a whole. The idea of "repenting in leisure" would be just fine, since you'd have nothing but leisure to atone from whatever crimes you may have committed.

Sure, some of the characters in The Little One try a more highbrow approach to an extended life—much like the hero in Pete Hamill's delightful novel, Forever, who is granted immortality on the condition he not step foot off Manhattan—spend immortality bettering themselves by learning to play new instruments, learning new languages, learning new trades, mastering the ability to paint or sculpt. But then what? Just as they have an indefinite period of time to better themselves, they also have an equally indefinite time to be base lowlifes.

Immortality would be all about leisure: abstaining in leisure, binging in leisure, repenting in leisure, and being able to repeat the cycle without end (barring exposure to sunlight or being staked). When you literally have all the time in the world, what's the point in being on your best—or for that matter, worst—behavior?

Since there's no "vegan" alternative in The Little One—no synthetic blood à la True Blood or drinking rodent blood—all of the vampires in this story are killers. Without giving too much away, there are a number of reasons why the vampires in this show can't socialize with humans. However, there are those vampires in this story who differ philosophically from one another as to having the right to torment and terrorize their meals (due to enjoying being at the top of the food chain and staving off boredom) or having the responsibility to be merciful towards the humans (being a centuries-old being should come with some level of responsibility and maturity).

In short, most of the main characters in the play are amoral, but not immoral (although there are some who try to adhere to a strict moral code and those who do truly evil things by anyone's definition of the word). Many of them, after having lived for several centuries, and will most likely live for several centuries—if not millennia—more, are bored with being purely enlightened or depraved. They've got time to kill (ho, ho), and most realize there's never just one way to deal with eternity.

And of course, in addition to all of this quasi-philosophical noise, I wanted to write a play that had a lot of fighting and gore.

Having fun psychoanalyzing fictional characters,

James "Futile Freud" Comtois

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Blogger RVCBard said...

You just want an excuse to put vampire lesbians in something.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Jamespeak said...

Oh, alas! I've been kicking myself (and others have been kicking me as well), this is a lesbian sex scene-free play. I know, I know!

Stupid stupid stupid...

2:46 PM  
Anonymous cgeye said...

What? WHAT?

No vampire lesbos? I can stay silent no longer -- the injustice of this is rank in its obviousness.

2:42 AM  
Blogger Jamespeak said...

I'm as appalled as you are. And quite ashamed.

7:22 AM  

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