Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Seven Snakes - Some Thoughts

I've been working on the Seven Snakes script again.

I have developed an affection for the characters and new scenes and new ideas are starting to flow.

At the same time, I don't want to stagnate when it comes to the 'adaptation' part of the process. One of the reasons this thing has been sitting on the shelf for so long is that I generated over 100 pages of material all in prose form, all free flowing stream of consciousness. The original manuscript is riddled with typos, misuse of grammar, unintentional repetition, frequent revision, odd thoughts, meta writing, journaling about my doubts regarding the story, etc. etc... Editing this alone would be a beast of a task. Trying to morph it from prose into drama and dialogue sometimes just totally intimidates me.

One of the actresses involved asked me some questions about the process. How the piece was happening, where we were right now and the journey of the piece wasn't evident to her. I sometimes can forget that the process that seems so second nature to me, can be a far flung deviation from what a lot of folks are used to.

I like to workshop the script in parts. Usually over a number of weekends or for a period of say 2 weeks. Then present the script partially to an invited audience to view and comment.

There are a number of benefits to producing a workshop in this way. It is probably the closest thing to rushes or dailies that I can conceive of achieving.

I can see how the script is affecting a audience, usually a well read, theatrically savvy audience. I can question them about what they saw... what resonated for them... what struck them as insincere or awkward... what they were anticipating...

Also, It allows me time to play, to relish whatever mystery there may be within the images or phrasology or poetics in the piece without being blinded by the anxiety of a fixed opening night. When you are both playwright and director, sometimes you need to be able to leverage knowledge from a previous workshop against anxiety born out of the necessary risks essential to vitality. This sort of method can give you confidence (even if you are aimed completely in opposition to the river's current).

So, Once I have 80 pages... this is the process I will apply to Seven Snakes.

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