Sunday, May 06, 2007

Today I Had A Climax

That headline got your attention, didn’t it?

I mean I figured out the ending of the play I am writing. Now I can go back and make sure every step of the plot integrates with and builds to the ending. Also, I will strive to make every scene as interesting and dramatic as possible. Then I’ll begin the first draft.

This play is something of an experiment: I’m writing it in iambic pentameter verse like Shakespeare. Maybe I shouldn’t say “like Shakespeare” because no one can compare to his poetic drama. Those poets who have been able to match him in verse music -- Shelley, Tennyson, Swinburne, for example -- have written tepid drama at best. (Also, I’m leaving out the old-fashioned poetic language: thee, thou, art, verily, forsooth, hadst, doth, sayeth, etc. The words are beautiful, but there is too much distance between us and that language for the dialogue to be effective and powerful.) Anyway, I'll give it a try, and if it doesn't work then I'll go back and rewrite the play in prose.

To attempt a poetic drama in 2007, after a century of prose dialogue post-Ibsen, is a daunting task. Many will shake their head at the very idea. I think I’m well suited for the task because I’m an actor. I write lines to be acted on the stage, not just read. More important, I am not a naturalist, like Maxwell Anderson, who valiantly wrote verse dramas, with some success, in the 20th century. For verse drama to work, the characters and the plot must be as big as the poetry.


The plays I am in, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Julius Caesar, open this week. Between them and my full-time job, I have little time for anything else. I’m grateful that I was able to steal an hour today for playwriting. Blogging has been light, and will continue to be light.


Jennifer Snow said...

oo, I hope I will get to read this play once you get a draft done.

Pretty please? I'd offer to let you read my novel when the first draft of THAT is done but I'm not sure how much patience you have for fantasy.

Myrhaf said...

I'd love for you to read it, but don't hold your breath waiting for it! I have not begun the draft yet.