63. Long Playing

When I was young I never bought singles, I always bought albums. I put a Gordon Lightfoot CD on a few days ago and more than ever before I enjoyed the movement of the recording from song to song building connections, creating nuances and understanding how one song influenced and informed the other songs throughout the entire recording. I can't imagine most CDs are put together structurally in the same thoughtful way anymore. Most people are content to bounce from song to song and artist to artist, as they will. If the people don't or won't take the time to listen to and appreciate the artistry of a full-length recording--why would anyone bother to make one? In this sound-bite world we have created for ourselves (we do choose to do these things, after all) we simply don't bother to put forth the time and effort it would take to appreciate artistry of a more thoughtful nature. I write plays. I'm not particularly interested in writing movies or television. Maybe I will be at another point in my career, but not now. I've been to many a production where the play had too many scenes and you felt as if the writer was really writing a screenplay. I'm disappointed when this happens. Plays are structured differently than movies or TV shows and they should be. It is a different form and it has different conventions, therefore plays need to be structured as only plays can be. I don't usually write conventional scenes. This is not a hard and fast rule, but it is a rule I keep in mind when I'm choosing what topics I will write about and how I will present a story. I don't like to break things down in to bits and pieces; I don't like a story broken up; I want a story to feed on itself and carry itself forward; I want a story that builds and shifts and moves and is in continuous motion, stopping only when it gets to the end. It is more difficult to tell a story this way and not all stories can be told this way, but this is the way I prefer to tell a story. Both Shakespeare Restored and Before are continuous time plays. A play structured in this way can only happen on stage. You use your imagination differently when you go to a theatre and see a play--you give more of yourself over to the experience, at least I do. You use your imagination with movies and TV too, but you don’t have to give as much of yourself over to either of those forms because they do more of the work for you. The stage is unique and because it is unique there is something that can happen there--that can’t happen anywhere else.

Note: In 2016, an entirely new play, Before, emerged out of the ashes of The Night Before.


originally posted November 2016
reposted March 2018

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