It started with a photograph of a girl I've never met

Updated: Mar 9

By Allie Costa


It started with a photograph of a girl I've never met. While scrolling through my newsfeed one afternoon, a picture jumped out at me. This picture, here.


I wondered who that girl was. I wanted to know her story. Suddenly, inspiration struck. I opened up a new Word document, pasted that picture into the title page, and started typing. My fingers were ahead of my brain. Before I knew it, I'd written a short play about a couple mourning the loss of their daughter. Caught between anger and acceptance, Rhys and Simi struggle to make sense of their loss and seek strength in one another in the process. WHO SHE COULD HAVE BEEN was unlike anything I had written before. Not in style, necessarily - I enjoy writing realistic drama. Not in length - I've written dozens of ten-minute plays and short films. Not in cast size - I'm rather fond of "two-handers," stories featuring two characters. Rather, it was the subject matter of this particular piece that was new territory for me. I've experienced grief in my life, but I haven't written much about it, and I've never had children. But I've lost people I've cared about, and I've seen grief touch, twist, peel, and push people in many ways. I drew from those experiences and observations as I wrote this story. Who is the girl in that photograph, really? Research revealed the picture's true origins: it came from the Bohemian Rani Festive 2013 Collection by clothing designer Sapana Amin. And that is how my character Rani got her name. (Character names are very important to me - but that's another story for another time.) I will forever be grateful to my friend Charity for sharing that photograph, and to Sapana Amin, her model, and her photographer for planting the seeds for this story. A picture truly is worth a thousand words.


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