Hello There! So, I am now oficially post rough-draft-1. Finished about an hour long version of the play late Sunday night/early Monday morning, printed off, and duly took it to the Court with me on Monday. So yes… obviously massive things wrong with it and most of it doesn’t make sense, but not bad for 2-4 very painful days work!
My main concerns…
- Structure- the piece struggled out of one structure (very short scenes) into another, chunkier one halfway through, all of which are structures that I’m new (and thus not sure about how sucessful I can make them) to as before now I’ve always written closed time/space pieces
- Characterisatlon. It feels like only Ona has any. I think that Dominic’s journey isn’t clear, and that he and Ona are both currently vying for protagonist- to a degree that serves a purpose and illustrates a journey in itself, and to another, it’s just confusing, argh!
- Content. Obviously the play is completely different to how i imagined it, this is what happens when you write something- it twists and turns under your gaze as the characters grow and start to make their own decisions (sounds hippy-ish but it really does work like that) Although I think that is to be expected, it now feels like Maria is now tacked on, though I’m not sure how to involve her more. It was going to be a story about women trapped by male expectations but now it’s a story about the damage done by commodifying humanity. Also, I still feel passionately about the aims of Sci—Fi theatre, but sometimes the play seemed to just want to be about trafficking-not extrapolated into a single—child future… in which case it’s a very different, much grittier, and much more responsible, research heavy piece, none of which I’m afraid of- but it would be good to be able to decide a direction.
- Dramatic Action. I felt like there was very little, and too often found myself forcing my characters to speak to fill the page, naturally a product of an intensive first draft, but need to work on heightening dramatic action, and avoiding it being a solely stylistic/genre piece
- Form- The piece feels like a one act-er stretched too thin, (from previous experience of this script template, I’d say it was 60-70mins at the minute) does it need more story, or more characterisation? Or does it just need to be a one act play…?
So Yes! Bit scary, but good to have soemthing. We took 3 copies of the script into the Court, and exchanged with two others and the course leaders – in groups of 3 we produce a reader’s report of our pieces and discuss them next week- and Leo and Natalie get their feedback as soon as they can.
We also did something really interesting asa whole group- basically each person read out the first 2 pages of their script, and then everyone else wrote down frist reactions/questions etc on a little piece of paper anonymously, they were then shuffled, and handed over to the writer – Leo read out a first draft of his too. So we each left the session with 14 or so pieces of instant reaction to the first moments of our play- which was definitely very helpful! In general my feedback was that the piece was intriguing and full of detail, very vivid in terms of place (can also mean too many stage directions), the one which was clearly the course leader’s said it had a great sense of dramatic action and build of tension and that the “dialogue feels authentic and dangerously compelling” which is cool! though obviously some negative points, the most interesting of which was from one of the other class members- who suggested that I be careful the piece doesn’t make Georg a ‘big-bad-Lithuanian-wolf’, and that I could be construed as racist. This person also thought it was set in Lithuania (they said that the UK has brothels too, so in itself maybe I need to be clear that it is the UK in the first few pages) but still a good point- I am concerned about Georg being a stereotype, but I hadn’t thought about the implications of his being foreign, he just was- so perhaps something to be aware of? I have been concerned about him being a stereotypical pimp, but then it could be argued that part of being a pimp is playing to stereotype? And how do you be a nice pimp? interesting stuff, and having never knowingly met one myself, might be worth some kind of research (how do I do that?)… food for thought.
So, only two more weeks of London – this feedback session, and then a session on redrafting- then a month to redraft to a solid first draft level and we hand it in ont he 15th of January! Phew!
Oh I also went to the National Portrait Gallery – very cool, saw an awesome portrait of Emmeline Pankhurst which took my by surprise, and quite an astonishing picture following the passing of anti-slavery legislation where black people sit amongst politicians and peers in the 19th century houses of parliment. Stunning, really makes me want to pick up my paintbrush again- it’s been a while, I really want to work with oils but I can’t afford the paints/brushes/linseed and whitespirit that is required… ho hum!
I also need to earn some money, I’m just too poor. Especially now, around Christmas time… being poor isn’t nice :-(