Rules are made to be broken…
This week I have mainly been listening to the Gypsy soundtrack. In the shower I have honed my Ethel Merman/Patty Lupone impression. Next time I’m at karaoke I think I’m going take a pass at Rose’s Turn. I think it’s going to be epic.
Other than its magnificent central character, its heart and its inventiveness, I think Gypsy struck a chord with me due to its sheer elegance of construction. Main characters have clear motivations, are given arcs and are each granted a moment to come centre stage. The songs feel like they come out of an organic moment in each scene. The finale both enriches and is enriched by what has come before it, giving the audience a breath taking and emotional 11oclock number, and a fuller understanding of the protagonist we’ve spent the last 2 hours watching. It is a thing of beauty; adhering to its own rules, consistent in the world it builds, organic in its progression.
Which brings me on to our project…
How to construct our narrative, and from where our music springs is one of the issues we’ve been grappling with recently. Our idea started life as a faux-verbatim musical. With that in mind, we are now exploring the limits of that form, what rules it dictates, and whether we can break them. Limitation can breed creativity. But too complex a set of rules can also stifle it.
Simply put; to slavishly follow the faux-verbatim form would mean we would struggle to reveal a character’s internal world. This is something musical numbers can do incredibly well, and could be a real loss to our piece. Songs compiled only of public statements, interviews and court transcripts have their place- and hopefully will be formally challenging/exciting- but does an entire full-length musical consisting of such songs run the risk of being…cold?
But rules are made to be broken. Especially rules you’ve set yourself. The challenge now is to find the most surprising ways in which we can break our own rules, whilst staying true to our story and its world.
Also…THIS! (Thank you Sevan.)