It started with a photograph of a girl I’ve never met.
While scrolling through my news feed one afternoon, a picture jumped out at me. This picture, seen here.
I wondered who that girl was, and what her story was. Suddenly, inspiration struck. I opened up a new Word document, pasted that picture in the title page, and started typing. My fingers were ahead of my brain. Before I knew it, two characters were talking to each other: a couple mourning the loss of their daughter. Caught between anger and acceptance, Rhys and Simi struggle to make sense of their loss and try to find strength in one another in the process.
WHO SHE COULD HAVE BEEN is unlike anything I’ve written before. Not in style, necessarily – I like realistic drama. Not in cast size – I seem to be rather fond of two-character stories, aka two-handers. Not in length, as I am very much in the groove of writing ten-minute plays right now. Rather, it’s the subject matter of this particular piece that’s new territory for me. I’ve experienced grief in my life, but haven’t written much about it, and I’ve never had children. But I’ve lost people I’ve cared about, and I’ve seen grief touch, twist, peel, and push people in so many ways. I drew from those experiences and observations as I sketched quiet Simi and fiery Rhys.
Who is the girl in that photograph, really? Research revealed the picture’s true origins: it came from the Bohemian Rani Festive 2013 Collection by clothing designer Sapana Amin. And now you know where Rani got her name. (Character names are very important to me – but that’s another story for another time.)
I will forever be grateful to my friend for posting that photograph. Thank you, Charity, for the unintentional inspiration. Thanks to Sapana Amin, her model, and her photographer for planting the seeds for my story. Thanks to Little Black Dress INK, Tiffany Antone, Kate Hawkes, Shondra Jepperson, and the Sedona cast and crew for bringing my story to life.
— Allie Costa