Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Day 286, quand John pense sur le théâtre [13.10.10]

Dag to hundrede seksogfirs. You're probably guessing that I am not in the mood for blogging tonight. You're right. I'm overtired, fed up with learning French for tomorrow's oral exam, and I just wore myself out doing some graphics for the new Brickspace. Hah, you thought that was dead. Not quite yet. After I was talking to Harry about it last night, it inspired me again and I got some more pages done. Next to do; finish all the pages, explain everything, then send it off to Zack and Dr Sinister. Then done.

OK, theatre. Quickly done.

So, since I'm hoping to direct some play or other at some point in the far-off future, I had to start thinking about what sort of play it would be and what it would be about. I'll admit; thinking about theatre is pretty annoying for me. I see everything in cinematography, with camera angles, lighting and editing. With theatre, you've got no frame to work with. No way of getting up close to characters. Of seeing from another angle. It's flat, it's dull and it's hard to work with. And scene changes are a bitch; they can't be quick.

The only way we can make them swift (not quick, but swift) is by having some sort of rotating set. With two different sets on either side, so we can move it round and get to the other scene, pronto. This is also useful because it will purposefully restrict the possibilities of the script. I'd naturally set the play in loads of locations, with dramatic lighting, vast expanses and the outdoors. But it's theatre, so that means no buttload of sets. Sure, I could do a minimalist thing and not have any sets and only one flexible, dynamic open space. But I come from film, and I want to set a scene. With furniture. With windows. With clothes. With backstory. So it looks like I'll need a big set. And, because I want swift scene changes, I will probably have two or three sets, arranged around a central pivot point with the floor so the behind-the-scenes gents can rotate it.

So that leaves us with the setting. Which has to be inside. That's OK. That's a good place to start a script, in fact. Two indoor settings. A small apartment, the abode of the protagonist, and something else. A shop he runs downstairs? His workplace? The gym he goes to down the road? Having such fixed locations means that the play becomes more about a concept, and the characters, rather than dynamic, everywhere plot. There's no room for stuff about the environment, or people going on adventures. It's either a character study or it's a concept study.

Now what? Who could our protagonist be? I'm going to make him male, because they say 'write what you know' and I won't venture into the depths of the female psyche because somewhere along the line I'll get it wrong and the woman will too masculine in her thinking. What age? Adult, I'll say. That way they can get around a lot more and do a lot more. It frees them up. If it's a teen or a kid then they need the obligatory parents and siblings. If it's an adult, he could have a girlfriend/wife or the odd friend coming round to move the plot on. It's all freed up with adults. What about an old man, though? That would be interesting, that's for sure, but then dialogue is slow and so is movement. So it's either a play about a bunch of old blokes discussing something, or it's a very slow, dull version of something else. So an adult, but not a pensioner. What class? I'm going to say middle class, because I'll be writing what I know. I don't want to write about a lower-class poor guy, because it'll be very biased and I have no right to assume the lives of others. It'd be too snobby. And it'd probably just get dragged into the poverty thing, and all hope of a unique plot will be lost. As for an upper class gent, that can get stereotypical quite easily. Posh accent, bowtie, posh friends. Do not want. If my guy's middle class, I can do what I want with him without worrying about him being poor or being a posh toff. Flexibility is the name of the game.

But what's the plot? I have an idea at the moment, but I'll have to tell you another day for it's getting late. Hopefully this has been informative. If not, sorry for taking your time. You can have it back in the afterlife*.

~John

*Ahahahaha, there's no such thing as the afterlife. Sucker!

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