Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Deboning The Bone Feeder
So, after three years of being haunted by the story of the SS Ventnor, I am taking my project to the next stage. I'm currently working on a redraft of the play that was presented in October at the uni (it seems so long ago already!). Once again I've managed to open my big mouth and now it seems the play is going, in less than two months, to Hamilton, Masterton, Palmerston North, and Hokianga.
Of course, like most things I do, 'touring' is far simpler to arrange than to actually do. It sounded so cool at the time. Of course all the actors said yes. But now, with some actual funding in my bank account and bits of half-written media pitches already floating in my brain (yes I'm your typical multitasking producer), I'm back to the far more basic problem of restructuring the play so it will a) be a cracking yarn and b) hold up in all the venues. While there's afternoon blue sky and South Island green outside, I'm stuck at dawn in a howling gale in the Far North.
I promised myself at least an hour (hopefully more) of writing per day over the 'holiday' season. But so far instead of facing my fears and just opening up that document, I've been boning up on my dramatic writing theory with the help of an over 60 year old writing manual, The Art of Dramatic Writing, by Lajos Egri. It was recommended to me by my new director, Simon Zhou, and it has the advantage of looking like a hefty tome (so one looks intelligent with it on a desk)but being relatively easy to digest.
In fact, like many good textbooks, most of its advice is strikingly familiar. I'm sure I've heard a lot of its ideas come out of the mouths of theatre gurus (and I don't mean that sarcastically at all) who have advised me in the past. Things like a good scene should contain conflict and characters must be three-dimensional and always be growing. And then it goes on to show, in steps, how this should be easy, not difficult, to attain and so for now I am full of hope. But still I'm scared of opening up that bloody Word document. It's far easier to eat strawberries al fresco on my balcony and pretend I never said anything about a tour.
Wish me luck.....