Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Can a novel be hiding out in your full length play?

The answer is yes, of course. But do you really want to go there? The proposition raises issues all over the place.  What issues?  A story is a story, play shmay, right?  Well, if you've written a full length play, you've spilled your blood all over the pages. You've chosen the stage as the place where your story will be told perhaps because you could not imagine a more satisfying experience as a writer than actually seeing your heroine alive and walking about before your eyes, and she's saying your words.  You will sit in a darkened theater and suspend your disbelief along with the audience as the story unfolds in three dimensions. Wow.

You crafted scenes that taken together are the essence of your story. You've implied back stories for all your characters that are revealed in their dialogue and their motivations. It's all clear to you and you have supplied stage directions for the director, cast and crew to make sure of it. But is it really crystal clear? Or have you surrendered absolute clarity to a collaborative conception? Above all else a play is a collaboration for sure. I mean, would a novelist ever leave the heroine's physical presence up to someone else's vision? That's exactly what happens when auditions and call backs for a play have been completed and your heroine is cast.

You see what I mean about issues. Do you really want to go there?

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