A sometimes half-arsed record of the process of writing in its' variegated many forms.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Seagull among other things

I started rereading this Chekhov gem this afternoon, and it was instantly clear that this was the play that I was looking for. I had virtually randomly selected it from plays that I have copies of to be the play that the character Lilly from the screenplay Eddie the Grouch is in, and it fits perfectly. In fact, after their first act falling out over Eddie's birthday outburst, he'll be dragged off to see it by Thera and it will inspire him to try for a more abstract novel project. It's also clear to me that I absolutely need to be more careful about leaving ideas just inside my head. I had laid out the major plotpoints of Eddie's novel and how it changes at the end of the second act, but this morning as I was reading The Seagull and thinking about the script for the first time in weeks, it occurred to me that the remnants of those brainstorm sessions are vague and not as solid as they were when I was working on them. This is not uncommon, it's just tough to always do notetaking, but necessary (as he reminds himself yet again) since we work on more than one project at a time and have work and school as well to contend with. You know these things, so keep to them.
Creatively it's been a languid time. I should be working this week, but I can't muster up much energy for the whole thing. Now that I have the play in place with it's relatively large cast, I have to work out who we meet, who plays who, especially whether Lilly plays Arkidina or Masha or Nina. Now that I think about it there would be no solid choice for a typecast, but certainly she would need quite a bit of range to get from her personality to Arkidina, who is clueless and grandiose. I see them as a group, so cohesive and intense about the theatre, quoting lines from their characters and discussing maybe Konstantin's desire to break with trad. theatre or Trigorin's soliloquey on writing. This will all make Eddie terribly jealous and finally set him off, maybe on David, the director or the actor who plays Trigorin or even Lilly herself. Who knows? Just letting it all hang out a little.
Of Trigorin's monologue, I've got to include this qoute:

"They're deluding me into thinking I'm sane, and I'm really not, and someday they'll creep up behind me and drag me off to the crazy house. And when I was young, and could have been out enjoying myself, writing was sheer hell. A beginning writer, unless he's lucky, feels completely out of place- awkward, useless, nervous. He's obsessed with successful writers and people in the arts, he hangs around them, but nobody notices him. And he's afraid to look anyone in the eyes. He's like a compulsive gambler without any money! I never knwe who my readers were, but I had this vision of them: hostile, unimpressed. I was afraid of the public, terrified of it, and whenever a new play of mine opened, I always thought the people with dark hair hated it and the ones with blond hair were bored by it. It's horrible." From the character Trigorin from The Seagull by Anton Chekhov.

Chekhov is such existential deepness, I can't help but love him. Definitely my kind of playwright, but still humorous at times but such meaningful discussions of life, and so universally and timelessly true. The discussion of fame and celebrity has only become more poignant.

Also just quickly, The Seagull is also going to be used for the introductory scene between Sarah and Belle for the Play section of The Coffee Shoppe, so we'll get maximum umph for our buck out of this material. There's just so much there it's unbelievable, and I like the idea of characters from different projects getting to comment on the same material, maybe we'll get a whole different take from Belle and Sarah than we do from the crowd that's putting the play on or from Eddie who's at first bitter and then inspired by the piece. Okay, that's all.

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