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One Stray Bullet.

A play about sex and violence.


Download and read.




Op. 2

11.01.2020 #osb


My personal notes about
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 trust 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.



One note about the cover


My neighbour in Berlin has a clown hanging on his door. I endure this picture every time I open the door of my apartment. I guess the main idea for the cover One Stray Bullet originated at my entrance door. I worked on the idea until it reached the version it has today. I published one of my initial sketches on Twitter.


I was quite happy with the cover, but my partner kept asking, 'Why a clown? What’s that to do with the play?'


‘Close to nothing,’ I had to admit in the end.


Until I had the idea to get George to open the cylinder of his gun, remove one bullet, grab a pencil, sketch a clown on the bullet, and insert the bullet back in the cylinder. A simple detail, but one, that in my opinion, captures majestically the meaning of the play.



Present day


Towards the end of 2017 the idea for a second part started to take form as well as the ideas I would like to explore. I also had the feeling that I would like to convert One Stray Bullet into a visual novel. Time will tell if I decide to venture that far with this project.


Meanwhile, feel free to read the play as it is, and look for ideas to do something with it.


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