Monday, October 17, 2016


One of the more drama-producing activities within the cultural bubble you inhabit goes by the name of intervention. The scenario for intervention involves an individual being targeted by some sort of community, say a family or a work force or group of well-meaning friends. 

The essential ingredient here is the instrument of well-meaning, which in its way can be likened to the difference between a real gun being employed in a bank robbery or the pocketed hand of the robber, held to resemble a gun. 

Being confronted with the indictment of one or more attitudes or deeds of misbehavior is a serious enough business to require some semblance or illusion of wellness of intent on the perpetrators. 

Actual interventions of which you are aware have been conducted over the torts of alcoholism, drug use, abusive behavior, smoking, control issues, and health issues which the perpetrators of the intervention, meaning well, can argue to be leading to a heart attack or some related form of physical break-down.

Full disclosure: you've not been the instrument or target of an intervention, thus your attitudes are more judgmental than they are defensive, which well suits your purpose of raising the matter of intervention in the first place.

The target is often given some ultimatum, some warning of subsequent action, or presented with a contract which he or she signs, in which he or she agrees to stop doing X or start doing Y. Some interventions of which you're aware did end with the target thanking the assembled jury, although in at least one case, the target leveraged the intervention to a better-paying job with even more responsibilities and satisfaction.

You are here to suggest the potential inherent in deciding which cadre of your characters would become so concerned about the behavior of another character that they would organize an intervention against him or her.

You can even see the improvised scene, although you're pretty much in the dark about the major players.  Thinking about one intervention you relished toward the final seasons of Breaking Bad, you particularly remember the pillow that was passed from person to person with the direction that he or she who had the pillow could speak, all the others present had to listen.

Your opening line for the improvisation scene would, of course, begin with someone telling your target, "We're doing this because we love you and have become concerned for your welfare."  How easy it is to put yourself into the role of the target for a moment, relying on your own memory of how, before you gave up your land line, your phone conversations would begin with a complete stranger asking if you were indeed you, then asking you how you were doing today.

After one or two such calls, cynicism took control,and your response, "Why do I have the feeling you're about to ask me for money or try to sell me something I don't want?"

Additional disclosure: after four or five such phone calls, you resolved that the next one would be the reason for giving up your land line.

Yet another disclosure: after a while, you began keeping score, ticking off the land line phone calls from legitimate, which is to say friends or potential clients. sources as opposed to individuals trying to sell you things, plea for funds to support some charity, or remind you that the truck from X or Y charity was going to be in your neighborhood, and did you have anything you'd like to donate?

With such disclosures in mind, you're aware of a rich lode of potential responses from your characters in interventions, all of them bearing some degree of emotion in response. Defensiveness is always a good home base from which to depart in storytelling. Irritation is no slouch, nor is the time-honored technique of the smoke screen. "You? You're having an intervention with me? Why only yesterday, I was discussing the potential for initiating one on you."

So much for your as-yet undifferentiated characters; there is also the you of recognizable mischief, and the likelihood of you, quoting the avid Unionist, Barbara Fritchie, when confronted by a group of cantankerous Confederate soldiers, "Shoot if you must this old gray head, but spare my country's flag."

No comments: