If Famous Playwrights Had Written The Walking Dead
If Eugene O’Neill had written “The Walking Dead,” old men would argue in New England dialect. Herschel would be sitting at a bar, musing about those old devil walkers and how it’s better to sit on the sidelines and let others fight the zombie plague. Characters would speak in long monologues, the monologues would tell us what they were really thinking, and each episode of the show would be seven hours long, The walkers would be destroyed, not from gunshots or blows to the head, but from sheer boredom.
If Thornton Wilder had written “The Walking Dead,” the walkers would be sitting in chairs on a bare stage. The other cast members would also be sitting in chairs on a bare stage. There would be a Stage Manager who would tell the audience what the walkers and the survivors are doing. Daryl and Merle would sit atop two stepladders and argue with each other. Lori would ask to go back and look at her former life again. She would realize that life, even with walkers staggering around, going “Bwaharrgh!” is better than being dead and unable to communicate with Rick except in his hallucinations. At the end, Lori concludes that a walker should not try to go back to being alive and the walkers devour the Stage Manager.
If William Saroyan had written “The Walking Dead,” living people and walkers would be sitting around in some location like a general store front porch or a bar. Some of the living would get philosophical and muse on how, despite the presence of flesh-eating zombies, life is still a beautiful thing. A young man would see his kindly old grandfather and his brother both eaten by walkers at the same time but his friends would console him and explain that there are new experiences that will help him to heal his emotional wounds. Other characters would fall in love or help each other. An orphan would come to bind with Rick’s group, telling them that at last he has found a family he can appreciate.
If Arthur Miller had written “The Walking Dead,” a seemingly nice citizen would gradually learn that his past activities had somehow caused the epidemic of zombies and that his own son had been one of the victims. Overwhelmed with grief he would take his own life by shooting himself. Unfortunately, he would forget to shoot himself in the head to avoid turning. His widow would then have to shoot him all over again and would utter a eulogy for all the sad souls whose lives and work go unappreciated in this cruel world.
If Tennessee Williams had written “The Walking Dead,” Rick, Daryl, Tyrese, and other hunky guys on the show would be walking around in torn T-shirts, sneering and insulting the women on the show. The women would be walking around in their underwear, trying to get the men to have sex with them. The Governor would be trying to catch Rick and have him neutered. Blanche DuBois would open her door to what she thought was a cute young man but he would turn out to be a walker who would……no, that’s too sad.
If Wendy Wasserstein had written “The Walking Dead,” the focus would be on the female characters. Some of them would sit around and discuss the failings, sexual and otherwise, of the male characters. Michonne would be their role model. Michonne would come running into a room where the other females were sitting around and she’d display the blood and guts that a walker spewed all over her. Maggie would reconsider her relationship with Glenn and decide to be single in order to feel independent. She would later adopt an orphaned child whose parents had been killed by walkers and she would say that at least life could begin again for the next generation.
If David Mamet had written “The Walking Dead,” the living characters would be scheming to make money from this endless situation of zombie apocalypse. Some of them would find ways to sell walker carcasses by all means of lying to the living. They would also spout lots of major obscenities which would be a problem for AMC.
If Jean-Paul Sartre had written “The Walking Dead,” a man and two women would be sitting in the midst of a field of howling, menacing walkers. They would flirt and argue and fight off the walkers over and over again until it occurred to them that this situation would be going on forever because they are also dead and will develop into walkers themselves. One of them says “Hell is other people!”
Wait a minute. Sartre already said that in one of his plays, didn’t he?
| Lynne Bronstein is a poet, a journalist, a fiction writer, a songwriter, and a playwright. She has been published in magazines ranging from Chiron Review, Spectrum, and Lummox, to Playgirl and the newsletter of the U.S. Census Bureau. Sheâ€™s done four books of poetry and her first real crime story was published in 2017 in the anthology LAst Resort. Her adaptation of Shakespeareâ€™s "As You Like It" was performed at two LA libraries. Recently her story â€śThe Magic Candlesâ€ť was performed on National Public Radio. Sheâ€™s been nominated twice each for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net awards.