On One Stray Bullet


I started writing One Stray Bullet in 2014. I was back in Lisbon socializing with a group of actors. It was a hot and humid summer night. We were talking outside.


The bar we were patronizing belonged to a friend of one of the actors, who was considering staging a play on a weekly basis at the bar. I thought the idea was worth pursuing as the venue had the space for it, but at the same time I also had to consider the business side of staging a play and making a profit out of it.


I remember suggesting, ‘I think you should consider staging the play in English. With millions of tourists visiting Lisbon every year, someone needs to entertain them at night.’ Eyebrows were raised. As everyone knew I was living in Australia back then, eventually someone said, ‘Makes sense, do you want to write one for us?’ I thought about it and replied, ‘Yes, why not?’


We did some plot storming that night. We discussed a few ideas for the story. Everyone wanted to contribute to the project. I returned to Sydney and quickly wrote what would become the skeleton of this play. However, it was a completely different plot, different theme, than what we had discussed that night.


One Stray Bullet is about the dark side of sex. I have heard so many times that lust is embedded in a man’s DNA, but I have never understood why our sexual arousal seems to be correlated with how much a woman can be reduced to a sexual object. We can come up with all sorts of reasons to justify our actions, but none being a good reason to justify taking advantage of another human being.



Initial reception


One Stray Bullet had a bad reception from the beginning. ‘We can’t stage this!’ My friends said after reading the first draft.


I was asked to soften the play, which I did, but the second draft wasn’t well received either. This play has no shame to portray the ugly side of sex, and in that sense, it is probably not in fashion with the sexualization of every aspect of modern life.


I parked the play for many years, but the story kept lingering in my mind. I guess I owed it to the women who had shared with me their darkest stories. How they found themselves at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and it was too late to turn back time.



Present day


Towards the end of 2017 I decided to rewrite and polish the play. During that period the idea for a second part started to take form. Unfortunately, so far I haven't found the spare time to write it. I do have some ideas that I would like to explore, but I am still unsure about the format the second part will take.


Meanwhile, I feel I have little to add to the current version, and in that sense, I invite you to read it, or even stage it.



A quick note about the cover


When I had the idea for the cover of One Stray Bullet, I was not quite sure how to relate the clown and the bullet to the play. The bullet was quite obvious, but the clown wasn't that straight forward. Still, I liked the idea for the cover so much that I kept working on it, until it reached the version it has today.


I published one of my initial sketches on Twitter.


Initially, people would look at it and ask, 'why a clown?' I always felt that the irony of the plot could easily be impersonated by a clown, but deep I knew, it wasn't convincing enough. Unwilling to change the cover I had another idea. Why not letting the cover influence the play. Why not looking for an opportunity where I could make a reference to a clown.


And that's how I got the idea of getting one of the characters to draw a clown on the stray bullet. A simple detail, but in my opinion, one that captures majestically the irony of the play.


© Filipe Cardeira. All Rights Reserved. Read my Privacy Policy.