View single post by Tom
 Posted: Thu May 31st, 2007 07:29 pm
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Joined: Sat Jan 20th, 2007
Location: South Bend, Indiana USA
Posts: 20
Swann, well done. The compelling and sprightly dialogue fascinated me from the first moment and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The emotional range of the piece is very extensive, and to me that is the real power supplying the forward motion. Stage action is negligible, obviously, just pouring drinks and looking at a camera and so forth. The play moves because of the complex relationship and immediate situation of Abi and Simon. I think of The Chalk Garden, for instance, as a play in the same vein. However, the splendidly charged atmosphere that exists when Abi and Simon are onstage does not develop (for me) when focus shifts to the other characters. I never really became very interested in Sarah or whether she will marry Leo or not. Jule, also, didn't generate anywhere near the emotional intensity of the married couple. In fact, they were more of a force for de-emotionalizing the primary thread, cooling things down. Abi and Simon are so immediately real and vibrant together that Jule and Sarah suffer by comparison. But I don't know that this is a huge problem. Dare I suggest that you ratchet up the emotional aspects of Sarah's and Jule's interaction with the couple? Would that make the whole play unbearably tense? Perhaps it would. Currently the episodes with them give us breathers in between the pleasant and purposeful bouts the couple engage in, and this easing off might be necessary in performance. I mention this only as a vague suggestion, then. The other caution I offer comes from several tidbits of background that hinted at something I needed to know more about. I didn't know if "we need to look at your medication" is a joke or if Abi is really taking something. If so, I want to know what it is. Is it a joke when Simon lies about his "first tour" in Vietnam? Or is this real? On the page it's not as clear as it would be in performance, but if he's lying regularly, that says something very important about his character and I'd like to make sure about it. Later we get an echo of that in Abi's "first nature documentary," which made me wonder if she was lying too. Small points, but the delicacy of these characters and how well they are drawn makes the slightest lack of clarity stand out. Also, descending to the very picky, I can't imagine an American saying, "Simon and my only friends." That's thoroughly British. Some wonderful things: the imitating of a child's voice and of the Dutch fellow, the regular wit (neural paths "crossing" the land of the subconscious), consistent characterizations, the fact that the characters are constantly thinking and we can see their minds working. I congratulate you on a wonderful little play that was delightful to read. Tom