Ok, so I am wrapping my musical insofar as after 8 drafts I'm done with it for the time being. I'm not done with the characters. There are some distinct stories I want to tell that fall after the 3 hour musical I just wrote, but many of them are interesting moments.
I wrote the first play in this vein - Closure - last night. It's 10 minutes (reading aloud to myself), 2 actors. It's set in a prison meeting room though it could be quite poignant to set up the staging in a black box with audience surrounding the booth the with the two actors facing each other. I'm not much of a director though - I just do dialog.
That play was to answer a single question that was bothering me after writing the musical -- what happens to Pam? The musical doesn't answer that question - it's work is done and it's story is quite complete in my mind without that question answered, but Closure does answer it. Along the way it is very compact (as all 10 minute plays must be) and quite intense.
I'm going to introduce Closure to some folks who haven't been exposed to the musical to insure they aren't confused. I want the smaller play to stand alone.
But as I wrote it, it started prompting questions about what happens between it and the musical. And I've started outlining.
First, the sequel won't be a musical. Does that strike anyone as odd or a potential problem? I intend for this sequel to strike it's own path and tone. Its main style link with the musical is both have their dialog in iambic pentameter.
Second, The main character is certainly Pam, who is a critical but minor character of the musical. The musical is her mother's story.
Pam is 14 in the musical. I'm thinking of moving her age through the sequel. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Closure occurs when she is 20.
The sequel is a play of six 10 minute plays. Pam recurs in all but one of the play to form a common thread. Still, an acting troupe or studio may choose to perform any of the six plays alone. The changing of Pam's age and the passage of time plays into this.
In college I wrote a musical underscore for a project titled "Brief Encounters". It took six unrelated plays by Arlene Hutton and linked them by theme. My job on this production was to give the six plays a common musical bind not unlike an album. My music covered the scene changes and was used in preshow.
For this play I'm outlining I'm considering writing transition monologues. The idea is the actor can move to front of stage and soliquoy the monologue while the scenes change between the sub-plays. Each monologue would be 2 to 3 minutes to give time for this movement.
Three characters are reprised from the musical. I'm putting thought into two new ones, so the overall cast count will be 5.
Finally, It is very important this play be able to be alone because its parent may die in licensing right negotiation. It is very, very likely this sequel may be the first to find a performance venue because it is entirely my own - what it shares with the musical is not material derived from another source. So it is critical that it make sense by itself.
Thoughts or concerns?
Been doing some outlining. I'm thinking of breaking the Scene X rule by just giving the title of each of the sub-plays. That is, instead of typing "Act II, Scene 3" I will just type "Closure."
For those times the 6 plays are done in order as a complete work I have decided to include soliloquies. They will serve to purposes. The first pragmatic standpoint is to give the audience something to watch while the scene change occurs. And the second equally pragmatic is to do most of the bridging between the plays. Since I want all 6 to be able to stand alone, their ability to reference each other will be limited.
32 days later and 80 pages of this play are written. Wow.
Ok, here's an outline if anyone is interested..
The play is titled "Moments". It breaks down into six related 10 minute plays which can, if desired, be performed alone. When the six are performed together monologues are added to give the audience something to watch during scene changes and to reinforce the relationship of the plays.
The characters overall are
Catherine, her mother
Billy, who will become her stepbrother
Brian, who will become her stepfather
Alex, who will become her husband
Arthur, her father
The plays are each 1 year apart from each other. Pamela is in all 6 plays, providing a through line to the plot of all of them.
"The Picture Kept Will Remind Me."
Mother and daughter are starting their life over having left an abusive husband/father. While Pam is introduced to the new apartment she sees a picture painted by her late brother, who committed suicide the day after they ran away. The essential conflict is over whether such horrible memories should be kept, and if so why?
At a high school dance Billy tries to get Pam to dance with him and get closer to him. She rebuffs his attempts and the argument breaks any chance they have of remaining boyfriend and girlfriend. But even as they argue, they observe their parents, who are chaperoning the dance, falling in love. They realize that one way or another, they're going to have to get along. I still don't have a good title for this one - but I only completed its first draft last night.
"To Every Thing"
Brian makes the unusual move of asking Pamela if she's ok with him marrying her mother. Getting her to ascent to this is the main conflict of this story, which has a bit of a theological bent as Brian is an Anglican priest and Pamela is an atheist.
Pamela, Brian, Catherine, Billy
The only as yet unwritten play of the group, this one deals with Catherine and Brian announcing her pregnancy to their adult children, Pam getting ready to go to Yale and Billy getting a football scholarship to UK (he's a kicker. If any position at UK gets a lot of work its the kickers)
"What Love Truly Is"
Now in love, Pamela wants to become intimate with Alex, but anxiety from childhood molestation gets in her way. This is one of the most painful to write things I've ever done.
Pamela goes to see her dying father and try to come to terms with all he has done and find a way to finally let go of the pain he has caused.