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What do you think?  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Tue May 29th, 2012 02:49 am
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RTurco
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Mana: 
Below is my half-page synopsis for a play I plan to be sending out later this month.

SYNOPSIS: “The Vacuous Case of Mister Um” is essentially the offspring of a tripartite relationship between Franz Kafka, Jean Genet, and Samuel Beckett. The play requires eight actors, with doubling, and minimalistic set arrangements. It tells the story of an unnamed man, forever doomed to be called “Mister Um”, and his arraignment and subsequent trial at the hands of an insane kangaroo court. His crime, his origin, and most details regarding his life are a mystery to even him, as the court attempts to wrestle with his “horrid”, “vile”, and “disgusting” offense. In the process, the prosecution seems to invent made-up scenarios, posit ridiculous hypotheses, and use the evasive power of suggestion to prove this man’s guilt and the defense makes little effort to stop this charade. At the heart of the play resides the lawyer of the accused, who speaks in an inane, highfalutin sort of language that even he himself fails to understand. Midway through the trial, all semblances of order break down and the defense unites with the prosecution against the accused. What follows is an even greater perversion of the law that culminates in the death of two men. In the end, the accused is found guilty for the judge had made up his mind before the trial began. He is sentenced to death, but is later acquitted, and in a cruel sort of revelation, he chooses death in order to escape a confusing and chaotic existence he never really understood in the first place.



Any pointers would be appreciated.

Last edited on Tue May 29th, 2012 02:51 am by RTurco

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 Posted: Tue May 7th, 2013 02:24 pm
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in media res
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Mana: 
Turco,

Here is what I came up with. I tied to get rid of extra words that added nothing, and put in some color words to make it more interesting, such as changing "ridiculous" to "preposterous" to give some alliteration. (Now you have "p" in three words in a row - posits preposterous hyPotheses. And you have another one in maniPulates soon after.) I inserted "concocts" rather than "invents." "Invents is kind of a neutral word. Concocts is more qualitative of a word implying absurdity and "out of thin air."

You drew me in with "forever doomed!"

I think the story you describe is more of a "tale."

I tried to make the synopsis a little leaner and more active, rather than narrative, to elicit Um's situation better.

Also I think mentioning Um's name more is good; and I would suggest if the attorney has a name, mention it the first time you mention he is Um's attorney. If he has no name, then leave it as is.

I also put the staging requirements at the end and I put them in italics, though italics will not show on The Forum. I felt having them at the beginning hurt the flow of the synopsis. You want to get to "forever doomed" sooner, but if you have the staging requirements, you delay it.

You have to decide what works. Use what you think is best.

Here is what I came up with:

SYNOPSIS: “The Vacuous Case of Mister Um” is a tripartite relationship between Franz Kafka, Jean Genet, and Samuel Beckett. It is a tale of a criminal arraignment of an unnamed man, forever doomed to be called “Mister Um”, and his subsequent trial at the hands of an insane kangaroo court. However, Mr. Um’s crime, his origin, and most details regarding his life are a mystery to even Um himself, as the court wrestles with his “horrid”, “vile”, and “disgusting” offense. The prosecution concocts made-up scenarios, posits preposterous hypotheses, and manipulates the evasive power of suggestion to prove this man’s guilt. Mr. Um’s defense attorney makes little attempt to stop the charade. His attorney speaks an inane, highfalutin language that even he himself fails to understand. Midway through the trial, all semblances of order break down and the defense unites with the prosecution against the accused. The result is an even greater perversion of the law that culminates in the death of two men. In the end, the accused is found guilty as the judge had made up his mind before the trial began. Mr. Um is sentenced to death, but is later acquitted. Ultimately, Mr. Um chooses death to escape a confusing and chaotic existence he never really understood in the first place. (“The Vacuous Case of Mister Um” requires eight actors, with doubling, and is staged with minimal set arrangements.)



best,

IMR

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 Posted: Tue May 14th, 2013 12:31 am
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RTurco
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Mana: 
I like your revisions! I shall incorporate them.

Many thanks.

RTurco

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