Thursday, August 30, 2007

Revising Backwards


Given the downtime following my stint teaching with Open Air Circus, and the need to spend a lot of my time waiting around the apartment as I interview potential roommates, I have been sitting on the living room sofa revising the script of my play. In order to avoid the phenomenon of having a story whose beginning is well crafted but makes little sense by the end, I decided that this stage of revision will involve working page-by-page starting with the last page, working my way to the front, as I work on tightening the dialogue. Given the fact that English runs left to right, and Hebrew runs right to left, I have been referring to this as the "Jewish revision."

The next phase of the revision process will be an "English phase", working from first page to last, and will involve improving on the structure of the narrative, mostly expanding on the role of some of the supporting characters.

Working on a play on the topic of Holocaust denial, further underlines to me that my break with Bread and Puppet Theater was inevitable after Peter Schumann's "Independence Paintings: Inspired by Four Stories" trod dangerously close to Holocaust denial, and noticeably inflamed anti-Semitic sentiment. Despite that, there is one scene in the play that displays the storytelling techniques I learned during my time with Bread and Puppet. I celebrate complexity-- this is perhaps why I try to weave so many themes into a single blog: the aim is to integrate and synthesize, not compartmentalize.

On the issue of complexity: I have discovered that even as I aim to craft such a darkly themed piece, the influence of commedia dell'arte is present as well.

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