Things I did this month:
-Read London Road. I’d seen the play and watched the film but reading it is a completely different task. It is definitely not a musical to be read. So lesson I learned: you can’t judge a musical from text on a page.
-Read Great Britain. Again, I’d seen the play but it was a long long time ago. Why did I want to read it again? Because it’s based on a real story (like our play) and had to be quite brave and clever to not get sued. From the acknowledgements section at the beginning of the playtext: “…particular credit should be given to Nick Hytner, who held his nerve by rehearsing this play in secret, and opened it, without the benefit of previews, immediately after the court verdict in the Operation Weeting phone hacking trial.” Rumour has it that Richard Bean actually wrote two different endings (which the cast had to rehearse) because they just didn’t know how the real-life trial would go and they needed to be able to respond accordingly. There is much inspiration to be found in this process.
-Watched the documentary about Bill Cosby by the BBC. The BBC were very clever with this. Cosby’s trial ended in a mistrial – the jury couldn’t make a decision, so… he’s innocent (as we all are) until proven guilty. The documentary therefore could not make Cosby look guilty because then it’s defamation and they’d likely get sued. So, the documentary is basically just a timeline of events. This lack of a view point is very different from most of the documentaries I’ve seen lately which definitely do let you know how they feel e.g. How to Make a Murderer or Black Fish (if you haven’t seen it YOU MUST, but not on a date, it’s def not a date movie). There is a trial in the musical that we’re writing. Do we just present facts or do we have a point of view that we want to put forward? I know I just said that the BBC Cosby doc was completely objective but is that ever really completely possible? Someone is always editing the material; making choices about what to include and what not… there’s always a filter, right? Well, whether it’s possible or not I guess objectivity is something you can AIM for; hope to achieve. The question is really: IS objectivity/no view point what we want?
-Possibly found a framework to hang the rest of the musical on. POSSIBLY. It might be extremely wrong but at the moment I am running with it and not looking back.
-Wrote a scene that sets up this framework.
-Let go of the original narrative of the piece. It’s funny because I didn’t know that I was holding onto it until I let it go (clicheed as that sounds!). Things seem a lot more open now, changeable; I’m ready to rip things up and sew things back together.
-Listened to Motown music. These in particular:
-Listened to music about race. About being Black. About being a Black man today. A Black man today in America. Fav here:
So all in all it’s been an ok month I guess – lessoned learned, some decisions made, bits of inspiration found… bring on the next.