12 Characters – Blueberry Hill Cohousing


This was our first gathering of 12 Characters in the USA. Not surprisingly, the things that the British find to be ‘too American’ didn’t raise an eyebrow in Vienna, VA! 

We had many guest readers: locals such as Rhonda, Noel, Betsy, Helene, and Jim, and also my daughter Isa. It was our largest group of readers so far. It made it challenging to schedule read-throughs with people before the evening gathering but the readers found it really valuable that I took the time with them – especially for which parts of the monologues can be changed (gender pronouns, etc…) but also for pacing advice (read much slower than you think you should) and emphasis (Andrew’s monologues pack their biggest punch in the last sentence).

There were four obvious groups present at the gathering: the locals from BBH, two different local catholic groups, and my two children and I.

Once again there was a noticeable shift in the mood when one participant began to share a deeply personal story affirming their relationship with the world. It still surprises me how big a sense of slowing down and deepening of connection takes place when the first person in the room shares a personal story that makes all the theoretical ideas very real and grounded in their life.

Character Outline

  1. Part I
    1. I did the math – 849 – Jason
    2. I have kids, hopelessness is simply not an option – 357 – Betsy
    3. Let’s party like it’s 2099 – 280 –  Isa
    4. Pause I – What did you hear?
  2. Part II
    1. Bring it on! – 409 – Jason
    2. Defend this ground – 429 – Jim
    3. If it gets too bad, God will intervene – Rhonda
    4. Pause II – Given what you heard, what does that say about what matters to you?
  3. Part III
    1. It’s gonna happen – but to somebody else – 305 – Isa
    2. The apocalypse is my gravy train –  443 – Rhonda
    3. Better to be hopeful – 277 – Betsy
    4. Pause III – Given what you heard, What’s been shaken? What’s surprising? What’s complacent?
  4. Part IV
    1. This means war – 303 – Noel
    2. Despair is our only hope – 346 – Helene
    3. I want a better catastrophe – 410 – Jason
    4. Pause IV – If any of what you’ve heard touches a place of fear in you, what would you want to say about this to your neighbor?