So this month has been a good month for narrowing things down. I once heard a (big and success) playwright say, “the play is in the sky… it’s your job to stalk it and pull it down.” I think that’s pretty spot on – pulling down a star, turning it around in your hands and then placing it back and dragging another down to see if maybe it’s THIS one. There’s also that quote from Michelangelo about chipping everything away that doesn’t look like David – that one always reverberates in me somewhere really deep.
Stuff I’ve been reading/watching to help with both narrowing down and opening up:
–England People Very Nice by Richard Bean (basically just trying to get my hands on anything that has a play within the play)
–The Keepers – netflix
–O.J. Made in America (yes, I finally got around to this!!)
-Anything and everything about Harvey Weinstein
-Stuff about Phil Spector
–Les Miserables (the movie)
–Cabaret (I had seen it before but couldn’t remember it that well. There are surprisingly few song in it).
–Dream Girls (I had never seen it. There are LOADS of songs in it. Is that a new thing? Do modern musicals have far more songs in them than older ones?).
-I went to a talk by the brilliant Philip Ridley once and he talked about going to flea markets and buying items like a necklace, an interesting hat, an old broach, a belt etc… And then he’d get his actor mates to come around, put on the costume items and pose as these newly invented character. He’s take a photo and put the characters around his room and create plays from them. So yeah, I’ve been hanging out with these guys in my head…
I’m not very good at remembering who’s who so being able to SEE them is really helping me. I’m also not used to writing big group scenes so again SEEING them is really helpful to me right now.
-Rob Hartmann came in and spoke to us the other week and he was EPIC. He recommended a book called Backwards & Forwards: A Technical Manuel for Reading Plays by David Ball. I read this at a very quiet reception I was temping on and it is excellent. Really I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s, I suppose, more for directors/actors but it’s also great for playwrights. It uses Hamlet as an example throughout the book, and I do not like Shakespeare – I just don’t understand the language – but, I understood what was going on because of this book! It simplifies things; makes everything super super understandable. Anyway, GO GET IT learn what action is and that a character in a script is only bones.
-Writing. I’ve written LOTS OF QUESTIONS.
-Writing. I’ve written SOME answers.
I’m always pro making choices. I’d rather answer the question and realize later that I was wrong than flounder around in murky water for too long. You can always change it later! I guess you just need to be open to getting rid of things and starting again if it turns out the choice was the wrong one…
At the moment, in our musical, there are 2 narrative strands that run parallel. I’m calling them:
There is also what is happening in the present tense real world (outside of the R&D room) – people getting arrested, people getting released, witnesses coming forward, twitter, facebook etc… which has an impact on both the R&D and the Showing but is never seen. I’ve also discovered some new words to use – we’re going to call diegetic songs “Back Catalogue Songs” and non-diegetic songs “Expressive Songs.” Ok, “expressive” isn’t really the right work but Joe and I are going to go with it until we find something better – then we’ll just change it!
OH and on Tuesday Joe and I are going to see Kinky Boots!
Thanks guys xx
I’ll leave you in the hands of Phil Spector (aren’t you thrilled?)…