Saturday, April 11, 2009

Team Beckett #6

During Erin's lecture on Thursday I leaned over toward Chibbi and whispered, "I know who she is! She played Alice in Portrait." Duh. I think the voice gave it away.

I thought I'd post our "Master List" of rules for good theatre/plays:

1. Journey/Change
2. Audience Affected
3. Must have a reason; "Why?"
5. Necessary
6. Universal
7. Duration
8. Plot
10. Surprise
11. Metaphor
12. Tone (Comedy/Tragedy)

As my workshop group will soon figure out, I decided to expand my 7-page play into the longer play we were assigned to write. I didn't plan on using the same piece, but after workshopping "Liar," I realized it was begging for expansion and revision. So I decided to put more work into. I'm still not satisfied with where it's at, and I hope to improve and make it a more complete, more whole piece once the semester is over. And I've been through a bajillion revisions.

During the workshopping process there were a ton of questions (and some comments) that came up:

How old are they?
Who's lying?
Who really screwed things up?
Who is the bad guy?
Who do you think is the liar? And what does that mean thematically?
"I don't know whether I should feel sorry for someone."
Are the mom and dad divorced?
What type of incest is this? Flowers in the Attic? Cruel Intentions?
Was the sex voluntary? Rape?
"I enjoyed that you basically didn't waste time."
"There is no question as to who the characters are. But I wonder if you can say it a little more eloquently."
How can it be more eloquent?
"I don't believe they've gone 5 years and 9 months with out divulging who the real father is."
"There is a lot of context."
"Could have been a longer play."
"Can it be expanded?" Michael was really pushing for expansion.
"Lends to taking time on each line."

In meeting with Jenny, I received the following notes:

1. Who is the protagonist? The sister or the brother? Or both?
2. What's at stake? The engagement? The child?
3. Why do you need the time lapses?
4. What is necessary to see on stage?
5. How would the play change if it occurred in one night? In two days?
6. Is the flashback, the monologue useful for the audience to see on stage? Or should they simply hear it?
7. To what degree is the boy at stake? What do we get if we see him on stage, if we never see him on stage? If he's younger?
8. Months collapse time on stage. Is it evaporating dramatic tension or is it making it melodramatic?

In the expansion of my play, I think I touched on all of the aforementioned points. Most of them anyway. I'm still having trouble deciding whose story it is. The brother? The sister? I have no idea who my protagonist really is. In some ways, they're equally protagonists until the very end of the play. Is that my answer? [By the way, I changed the ending in the expansion. The sister still dies, but she doesn't commit suicide.]

At the end of my meeting with Jenny, she gave me the following "mini assignments."

1. Ask questions, ask a million questions.
2. Create a timeline for characters - include things we don't see on stage.
3. Outline for play (DO THIS LAST).
4. Decide about mystery guy. [Sam.]
5. This is why it happened, this is how it happened, this is how it stopped.
6. He said/she said - from both voices.

During the revision process of our long plays, I think I will revisit these suggestions to get even more out of this story. I'm really looking forward to discussing my play on Thursday. I'm curious to see how this play works as a longer piece. I'm especially looking forward to hearing from those who were in my previous workshop group.

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