365 Days/365 Plays

Parks' writing has been called "rhythmic," "repetitious," and "poetic." 365..

365 Days/365 Plays

Parks’ writing has been called “rhythmic,” “repetitious,” and “poetic.”

365 days/365 plays is a very different set of plays not only in their style but as a project in itself. A project to write 365 plays in a single year. Because of this it has a unique structure. First of all these are not traditional plays and they are not a single play either. It is a collection and therefore does not have a single theme. Rather it is an expression of the writers mind. However the style of the writing is some ways is the only constant throughout this collection of plays.

However, the outcome of this daily reflective, spur of the moment conception does show proof of several thematic arcs, especially those that Parks has focused on in other works: war, mythology, race, history, and the nature of writing. Similarly themed plays are sometimes found collected together almost as if the current topic was weighing heavily on Parks’smind at a given period. For instance, of the eleven plays in the “Father Comes Home From the Wars” thematic arc

The “Father Comes Home From the Wars” plays are particularly interesting not only for their timely nature but also their biographical connection. Parks frequently uses her childhood experiences as a member of a military family for thematic jumping-off points. In this play cycle and one of her earlier plays, Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom, the returning , three come in immediate secession on April 7th, 8th, and 9th; in fact, seven of these plays occur in the span of February 10th to June 18th, with a related play, “Mother Comes Home From the Wars,” on April 15th

Indeed, wars, both current and historical, seem to have been weighing heavily on Parks’s mind as she was writing in 2002 and 2003. “The plays for March in particular are filled with imagery that asks us to question blind pro-war sentiments and the stepping up of violence in the Middle East” what was happening at the time (Geis 162) Parks has noted that just as she was beginning to write her play cycle, the nation was once again entering into another large-scale world conflict (Als). Throughout the cycle, it is difficult to find a place where more than a week passes that does not have a play relating to some sort of war

The “Father Comes Home From the Wars” plays are particularly interesting not only for their timely nature but also their biographical connection. Parks frequently uses her childhood experiences as a member of a military family for thematic jumping-off points. In this play cycle and one of her earlier plays, Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom, the returningsoldier demonstrates considerable estrangement from his family upon his return, an outcome

Parks witnessed within her own home (Geis 162). Throughout the eleven “Father Comes Home From the Wars” plays, the father makes a series of returns, each time facing a different sort of hesitant familiar reception. Even here when such a clearly biographical connection can be made, however, Parks insists that it is organic and unplanned. She has been quoted to have said,

“Everything I write doesn’t appear to be biography until later, [… When it is first written,] it doesn’t appear familiar to me at all. And maybe that’s because I have to be in a kind of coma in order to write. If it appeared familiar, I wouldn’t” (Als) This arc, just as others in the cycle such as the “House of Jones” series, appears unplanned, formed out of an inner voice in Parks mind that insisted she continue to develop the idea as the year went on. Each play stands on its own but ultimately can be taken as a separate meditation on the same theme.

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