Life hasn’t been easy for Alexis this year. After divorcing her husband and setting her alimony payments, he won the lottery. Her children are running her life and her job as a Chicago-area publishing editor is in dire jeopardy because she hasn’t found a new author in some time. But things are finally looking up! She has been in contact with a Russian self-help author who she is hoping will allow her to publish his books in English. So, when he demands an advance of seventy-five thousand dollars, Alexis approves the advance, only to have him run off with her company’s money. Now, Alexis’s boss is on her to get the money back or go to prison! Alexis sets out to get the money from the only person she knows with that kind of money… her ex-husband, Zach.
With playwright Brian Mitchell
What inspired you to write this play?
It’s always interesting to find inspiration when you’re not really expecting it. For this play, I happened upon a statistic on the number of people that remarry the same person after a divorce. I can’t even tell you the number or percentage mentioned, but it made me wonder what would possess a person to marry someone they’ve already divorced. What life event or crisis or realization would have to occur for someone to go back and try again? One in a Billion came about as a result.
What's your favorite part or line in the play? Why?
I really love the character of Stephanie. She charming and witty and full of surprises. My favorite line is hers: “I like ketchup.” This line shows she’s a character that is simply herself. She never questions who she is or tries to be something she’s not. She’s comfortable in herself. I think the audience can sense that and that trust makes the play’s ending work.
Where did the characters come from? Are they based on people you know?
I can’t say I based any of the characters in One in a Billion on real people, but perhaps it’s fair to say they are an amalgam of people I’ve seen. I am a people-watcher; just watching mannerisms and patterns of speech and physical tics of people I never actually meet. I add these qualities to the backgrounds of the characters I create and try to flesh out the relationships and speech patterns and personalities from these elements.
What did you try to achieve with this play?
I’d like to think the play has some relatable humor in it. I write comedy because so much of real life is drama. I want the audience to sit back, laugh, and forget the cares of their day for a couple hours. I’d like to think the characters are relatable, even at their wackiest, and that I’ve crafted realistic characters and put them in unique situations that produces comedy because the audience understands how it could, possibly, happen in some household other than theirs.
Do you have anything else you'd like to add?
Having come up through small community theaters, I write with them in mind. My plays tend to have small casts, simple sound and lighting effects, and a single, simple set. One in a Billion is no exception. My hope is that it’s a fantastic piece for theaters with small budgets or resources or technical expertise to stage, but with a enough character and humor that audiences leave the theater with a smile on their faces.