Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Turn Four - by Crystal Skillman

Turn Four
, a short play published in Play A Journal of Plays is set during the last 20 laps of the Daytona 500. Three drivers in their cars, which are chairs able to shake and represent speed, are staggered facing the audience. They remain in the same position through the play. The driver's are Michael Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Dale Earnhardt.

The script is presented horizontally. The drivers speak to themselves and during the race and to each other over headsets. By laying out the script in 3 vertical columns a sense of the stage picture is conveyed through the visual organization of the text.

The historical events of the race are that Waltrip won and Earnhardt, Jr. came in second. Earnhardt was positioned for 3rd. Waltrip was driving a car owned by Earnhardt and this would have resulted in a 1-2-3 finish for the family. Earnhardt crashed and was killed on turn four in the final lap of the race.

Skillman imagines these final laps and the conversation between father and son, the tension of the three men vying for position, moments of recollection of their connections to racing, visions of victory, all building towards the final moments when Earnhardt loses control of his vehicle.

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