Tag Archives: Hemingway

Women writers and creatives! Stop being so hard on yourselves! (Oh, and men too, of course….)

Writers are hard on themselves. Female writers in particular seem hard on themselves. This isn’t a new topic, nor is it a fresh revelation, yet I’m constantly surprised when in the presence of women writers (of whatever genre) beating themselves up seems to be the done thing… Of course not all women act like grim, spanking, confidence-crumbling harridans to themselves, just as all men are not supremely confident and self-loving – but it’s time to be gentle with our creativity, to end imposter syndrome and send the crucifying inner critic away.

Easier said than done, of course. I was phenomenally fortunate to work with Augusto Boal for many years, and his notion of ‘the cop in the head’ – that criticising, sabotaging, cruel and snide voice(s) that chunters away, undermining our confidence – instantly changed my world view. It was genuinely a personal revolution, and one that was immensely liberating, to be able to locate and identify these individual ‘voices’ that hissed or bellowed negative things –  Who do you think you are? Don’t get too big for your boots. What makes you think you have anything to say of any interest to anyone? – and, in Boal’s parlance, send them back to their barracks. We don’t need thought police, or censors, Boal argued, as we’re constantly policing, censoring, criticising, picking-on and beating ourselves up – limiting how we engage, think, and behave.

This subject came up earlier this week when I was in London leading a workshop for a group of phenomenally talented female dramatists, all with incredible ideas and stories to tell, all moving into that shaky period of completing first drafts… It was a pleasure and real privilege to spend an afternoon with them, primarily talking about structure and dynamic, but also the negative phrases that slip into the language women often use about their work and their ambitions, whether realised or not. I heard myself chirping away like an over-earnest Pollyanna about how we need to embrace positivity, give ourselves time to explore and the necessity of being able to fail (without then torturing ourselves for doing something that can often be the turning point on the road to ‘getting it right’). 

So what? We haven’t fulfilled our ambitions or managed to find the allies or outlet for our creative work yet – but that doesn’t mean we won’t. It doesn’t mean we’ve failed forever… We know that the creative industries are shaped by many external forces, that chance, luck and timing are almost equal components to the ‘success’ of a project as the talent and skill displayed…. Maybe it’s not the right time for that experimental creative non-fiction memoir; maybe the market’s saturated with books displaying ‘Girl’ in the title; maybe the socio-political and cultural focus of the day is away from a particular obsession and it’s proving impossible to find a market for it now… But. Who knows what may be possible or attractive in the future? I have a novelist friend who put her book under the bed for several years, who then took it out and threw it into the submission ring again – and found an enthusiastic publisher. She hadn’t reworked the manuscript extensively, but neither had she submitted an overly flawed or still-in-progress ms – she simply gave space and time to a well-developed story and was rewarded in finding a home for what might have previously been considered a ‘failed’ product.

It makes me think about  Shakespeare and ‘ripeness is all.’ Perhaps the time isn’t ripe for the work. Perhaps the work needs to mature and ripen through revisions, or perhaps it needs to be rested, left alone, then reassessed, with a fresh eye?

I’m not trying to be ‘magical’ here (another Boal term). I’m not expecting us all to close our eyes and ram our fingers in our ears and la la la about how we’re actually unrecognised geniuses and a prophet is never recognised in her own land, etc etc. I’m not advocating arrogance, self-deceit, or female impersonations of Tony Hancock’s Artist, waxing and waning about how posterity will judge… I simply think writing (or creating, making, insert your own phrase here) is hard – life can be tough – there will always be more than enough people willing and able to criticise and undermine us, without us doing their work for them…

So I’m now on a positive drive. I’m calling for savage inner critics to be subdued, for negative phrases to be returned unused to the dictionary, for self-flagellation to be given a holiday, for us to be understanding and kind to ourselves when in the process of writing or creating or making or thinking or researching or devising or (insert your own phrase here).

JOY I heard myself saying in the workshop. ‘If we’re going to be miserable, or make ourselves miserable, why do this?’ The process is difficult enough as it is, so let’s find and celebrate the pleasure in what we do. We’re hugely fortunate to have this creative life – I’m aware that my working life is something my parents and grandparents could only have dreamt of…. so let’s try and bring more positivity into the process. I’m not suggesting we become lackadaisical in our approach (though that can have its moment), nor that we waft around like immortals, thinking we have forever to make the work. We don’t. Our time is finite, but that doesn’t mean our working lives have to be miserable or gone at furiously and out of focus, like a bull at a gate….

Or so I’ve been musing to myself these past days…

I’ve been reflecting a lot the past two weeks. It’s been a phenomenal time, with a world premiere in Singapore, a national award, news of a September production at Southbank’s Unlimited Festival followed by a UK tour, and auditions for a 2019 production of my play peeling. All these I will expand on in later blogs, but this sudden and unexpected affirmation of my work has of course added to my current state of mind and coloured my response to my fellow female dramatists in that workshop earlier this week….

We need to be disciplined, focused, and willing to dare. We need to have longevity and commitment to projects, but also to understand we won’t get it right the first time (immense congratulations if you do, and savour it, as it’s unlikely to happen again). We need to understand PROCESS – that, in the immortal words of Hemingway, “all first drafts are shit”, but, as Lear said to Cordelia ‘Nothing comes of nothing” – so don’t censor or worry or be too critical, just get something down – words on the page, clay on the potter’s wheel, fingers on keys, insert your own phrase here – as then you’ll have something to work from. And tell that guard at the gates of the mind that Seneca recognised to feck off – it’s not the time to be on duty. Finally, let us try and stop seeing our as yet unrealised projects as failures – redefine what you mean by success. And whatever else happens, be glad to be alive, to be creative. Let’s try and enjoy.


End note

I’m teaching an intensive workshop in writing for performance at Ty Newydd Writers’ Centre. We have places for just eight writers, so please click below for description, and contact Ty Newydd for further details.

Kaite O’Reilly at Ty Newydd Creative Writing Centre, Wales.

Writing for Performance Masterclass 8-12 October 2018.

 

20 Questions….. with poet Jim Ferris

For some years I have been running the series called ’20 Questions…’ when I ask a variety of creative human beings – from burlesque performers to theatre directors and novelists – the same twenty questions. Individuals are encouraged to respond to as many or as few as they like, in whatever form they choose. The answers are invariably fascinating and illuminating, even more so when compared to how other artists have responded. This time I’m delighted to introduce renowned poet Jim Ferris and his lyrical, honest, inspiring answers…..

Jim Ferris

Jim Ferris

What first drew you to your particular practice?

Words have always held power for me. I started speaking surprisingly young, I am told (and told further that I haven’t stopped yet – so much for my dream of being the strong silent type). I still recall the magical power of the ancient language of the Catholic Mass, the mystery and majesty as well as something to resist. Poets speak the world into being: in the beginning was the word, and the word was with god, and the word was god. No wonder Plato hated the poets – that’s power. I’m not particularly Christian anymore – yes, you are, my mother would say – but I recognize that language is not just how we communicate but how we perceive, how we come to what we think we know. This is why so many deaf people have been such a worry to so many hearies: they feared the deaf ones were beyond the creative and organizing discipline of the word. It takes nerve to mess with the language, man, and how can we help ourselves?

What was your big breakthrough?

There have been so many breakthroughs. One of the most important was discovering poetry as an alive and lively art form, discovering that poetry wasn’t just something in books. I had just moved to southern Illinois for graduate school, and some friends of friends had me over for dinner. Out on the coffee table was a poem that one of them had been working on. Neither of them claimed an identity as a poet, as far as I knew. The poem was about acting, it was smart and used language well, I liked it quite a bit, and suddenly it occurred to me that real live more-or-less regular people could write interesting and moving poems – and just maybe I could do that too. It really was a revelation.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work/process?

I think the most challenging aspect of my process is not so much finding the shape as it is finding the starting point. I’m reminded of the old line attributed to Archimedes: Give me a lever and a place to stand, and I will move the world. It’s not the most accessible of metaphors, but I think finding the lever and the place to stand are the most challenging aspects. And discerning not enough from just right from too much. And not telegraphing the punch line. And not explaining the joke, a very teacherly flaw. I should probably stop here.

Is there a piece of art, or a book or a play, which changed you?

There are many. Reading Hemingway and then Fitzgerald as a sophomore in college was transformative for me. Those two writers helped me know what I wanted to do with my life: live in Paris in the 1920s and make beautiful and moving things with words. I’ve let go of the Lost Generation Paris thing, but not the other.

I can’t claim to be great at this, but I do try to stay open to possibility in my encounters with poems and other works of art: maybe the next poem will be the one that changes everything, or at least cracks open this moment. Who knows where that might lead?

What’s more important: form or content?

Yes.

How do you know when a project is finished?

Paul Valery provides my answer: a poem is never finished, only abandoned. Or: when the surface glazes over, when it doesn’t belong to me anymore, when it’s not hot for me anymore. When I can’t find any way to make it better, when I am at the end of what I can do, or think, or feel. When my bag of tricks feels empty. Maybe this is when I know it’s time to put the thing down for a week or a month. I’d love to have Yeats’s “click like a closing box,” but I’m not often that lucky. Even though I’m a lucky man.

Do you read your reviews?

I think writers should approach reviews of their work employing the wisdom of those signs at hotel swimming pools: No Lifeguard on Duty; Read at Your Own Risk. I don’t read them; I fear I might not be able to let them go. I may read them eventually, hoping there will be some kernel of insight that I can use in the future. That unreasonable hope is, unsurprisingly, not often fulfilled. Sometimes my work is seriously misrepresented, and that is something I cannot afford to let in my head: if I write defensively, I’m almost certainly overwriting and probably not diving into the deepest pools. It’s an interesting challenge: staying open to influence, open to what comes up, while managing the kinds of influence and limiting those constricting and inhibiting influences.

What advice would you give a young writer/pracitioner?

Giving advice feels dangerous, but what the hell. Write the things you need to read; write what you love, do the work that fills you up; write for fun, enjoy the work even if it never sells, finds a big audience, even if it never gets you laid. If the joy of making isn’t the biggest and most important reward, find something else to do.

Always be a beginner; fresh, beginner mind is the place to be. At the same time, learn your craft, master your tools and keep them sharp. Write, and read, and keep doing both. Let the world influence you. Try to write like God. Especially if you don’t believe in God.

Love people and the world around you. And write through that.

What work of art would you most like to own?

There’s a reason I work with words rather than visual images, but I’d love to own Salvador Dali’s The Sacrament of the Last Supper. What it does with light is just stunning. If I did own it, I hope I’d do with it what collector Chester Dale did and give it immediately to the National Gallery so lots of people could see it.

What’s the biggest myth about writing/the creative process?

Inspiration. Writing is much more about preparation, application of butt to chair, and perspiration than the lightning bolt from the sky. I love a good lightning bolt, and it’s important to court the muses. But waiting for the God of Poetry to speak to you in a booming voice is to miss all the quiet ways the gods are speaking to us all the time. Pay attention, and keep your pen moving. The rest, including God, can take care of themselves.

Work I wish I’d created

This could be a long list: Peeling, The Great Gatsby, A Clean Well-Lighted Place, As I Lay Dying, anything and everything by Shakespeare, Holy Sonnet 14 by John Donne – what a set of verbs! John Belluso’s Pyretown. Just about any painting by Riva Lehrer or Vermeer. Lots of great contemporary poems.

What do you wish you’d known when you were starting out?

I’m not sure I have much of an answer to this question. Everything. Nothing. I don’t think I was ready to know until I knew. That the principal joy is in the making. The importance of just writing, of putting pen to paper. And then doing it again.

What’s your greatest ambition?

To make things that are useful, that may help people feel and make sense of the world differently, better, that suggest language and categories to think with, ways of being and noticing and feeling and responding. I’d like to push the envelope, to expand the horizon a little bit. I want to change the world, that’s all. And have a damned good time in the process.

How do you tackle lack of confidence, doubt, insecurity?

W.S. Merwin has a wonderful poem about some of the things he learned from one of his teachers, the legendary John Berryman. The last two stanzas seem to particularly fit this question:

 

I had hardly begun to read

I asked how can you ever be sure

that what you write is really

any good at all and he said you can’t

 

you can’t you can never be sure

you die without knowing

whether anything you wrote was any good

if you have to be sure don’t write

 

In twenty or thirty or forty years, people will look back at us, shake their heads, and marvel at how misguided we were. Ten or twenty years after that, they’ll decide we did some good stuff after all. But whose work will make that future cut? [Big shrug.] If you have to be sure, don’t write.

I hope I have learned to be hip to my own shit. I hope I can take my work seriously without taking myself too seriously. If making stuff is fun, let’s just get out there and play, keep playing, anything written can be rewritten, anything you still hate a year later can be thrown away. Or burnt to make room for the new. Make it a goal to fill pages, not to write the World’s Greatest

Whatever. Just write. Posterity can take care of itself.

Single most important thing learned about creative life

Let the making of the work be your reward, take your joy there. That way you won’t be thrown by attention or its lack. If you’re in it for the fun of doing it, then the rest isn’t so important. One other thing: either be independently wealthy or be able to make a living. It’s good to be able to eat and pay the rent. And maybe put shoes on the kids from time to time.

Answer to the unasked question

Love – I think that’s the answer to the question not yet asked. Love doesn’t mean ignoring problems, making or accepting excuses. It means caring: caring enough to pay attention, enough to expend scarce cognitive and emotional resources, enough to observe and think and speak up. Caring enough to remember that everybody dies, that no one gets out of here alive. Caring enough to do something, no matter how small it might seem.

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Further links to Jim Ferris:

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Ferris http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/jim-ferris https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoWtNBf1wJI http://www.valpo.edu/vpr/kuppersreviewferris.html

 

 

 

 

London, Paris, Berlin, Dusseldorf… Border Control at Tanzkongress

I'm grateful to Susan Basham and her lovely website of humorous quips and quotations from writers for the above. http://www.susanbasham.com/2012/05/04/humorous-quips-and-quotes-from-writers/

I’m grateful to Susan Basham and her lovely website of humorous quips and quotations from writers for the above. http://www.susanbasham.com/2012/05/04/humorous-quips-and-quotes-from-writers/

I’m en route to Berlin, travelling via Paris on the train, to continue my Fellowship at Freie Universitat’s International Research Centre: Interweaving Performance Cultures. Apart for continuing to reflect on my work between Deaf culture and hearing culture, disability culture and the mainstream, I’ll also be presenting a paper at Tanzkongress in Dusseldorf next week.

Border control – framing the atypical body. You say radical, I say conservative; you say inclusive, I say subversive…

The talk will explore notions of what I call the director/choreographer’s dramaturgy of impairment. I hope to briefly explore several examples of ‘border control’ in inclusive performance – the politics and cultural meaning involved in framing the atypical body and the radical or problematic [mis]representations which can ensue. Some of the questions I will explore will include:

What are the politics and cultural meaning involved in framing the atypical body?

What is the relationship between ‘mainstream’ culture and notions of normalcy, and politicized disability culture, embracing the wide variety of human difference?

As a dramaturg, a very central question for me: Who controls the frame – or does it not matter?

Information about the talk, and the four day gathering in Dusseldorf between 6-9 June 2013 can be found at:

http://www.tanzkongress.de/en/subjects/interveneparticipate.html#event-76-0

Meanwhile, I will enjoy the journey, the landscape slipping past the train window, the hoard of books to read on my e-reader and the hours of idle thinking as I make my way overland (and through the Channel tunnel) to Berlin.

Revision notes (6): As to the adjective: when in doubt, strike it out.

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It was Mark Twain who, in 1894 in Pudd’nhead Wilson, dealt so succinctly with the adjective: ‘When in doubt, strike it out.’ Even earlier, in Boswell’s 1791 Life of Samuel Johnson, a similar sentiment can be found: ‘Read over your compositions, and where ever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.’

It took me several years to come to my current understanding of these aphorisms. As a student I was bewildered, thinking these writers were advising me to sabotage my work by slashing out what I deemed ‘the best bits’. Giddy on Joyce and the rich, pungent gush of Irish words, I wanted MORE in my writing, not less. To cut what I imagined was a fine passage felt like mutilation, a blood sacrifice to some demanding, ancient deity called Great Old Dead White Male Writers. Was it a rites of passage, some initiation I needed to go through before I truly understood what it was to write?

No. I was simply very young and very earnest and as green as the distant hills. Experience has shown me the clue is in: ‘a passage which you think is particularly fine…’  Johnson was quoting advice given to him by his college tutor when a young man, filled with his early fascination for language and intoxication with words.

Less is more and taste is all. Overwrought poetry and prose topples under the weight of its adornments. Like an over-dressed Christmas tree, you can’t see the pine for the baubles and it’s likely to keel over headfirst.

When revising work, we need discipline and distance so we don’t become self-indulgent. Nothing extraneous should be in our work. We can’t keep the beautifully put phrase that no longer fits the content, nor allow the favourite, fine piece of writing stay without fear of it upstaging the rest of the work. So many times when I’ve been reading work I’ve tripped on a well-turned phrase that somehow jars. When I point it out (which will invariably happen) the writer smiles ruefully, muttering ‘I know, I know… I should cut it, but I just love that line…’

Which brings me rather neatly to Mamet and his infamous ‘Kill all your darlings’. He is not, I believe, inviting us to get rid of all our brilliant ideas, or the plots, characters, and dialogue we are engaged with and incubating, bringing to completion. He is demanding we press delete on the parts that make us act indulgently, ignoring the faults of spoilt, precocious lines which disrupt the otherwise beautifully composed page with their noisy, attention-seeking LOOK AT ME! AREN’T I FINE! effect.

Alternatively, I interpret this as cutting the now defunct sections, perhaps the original seeds of the work, carried since the initiation of the script/book/story/poem, which we can’t, just can’t imagine NOT taking the rest of the journey…

We can and we should. Editing and revising work is not a process entirely free of pain.

Here’s some other quotations about editing which I’ve found to be sound advice and salve to that ache:

 Omit needless words…A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.

William Strunk  The Elements of Style (1918)  [I highly recommend this book]

If there is anything said in two sentences that could have been as clearly and as engagingly said in one, then it’s amateur work.

Robert Louis Stevenson, letter to William Archer, 1888

I often covered more than a hundred sheets of paper with drafts, revisions, rewritings, ravings, doodlings, and intensely concentrated work to produce a single verse.

Dylan Thomas  in a letter 1940’s

Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke.

F Scott Fitzgerald.  1959

And finally:

You know you’re writing well when you’re throwing good stuff in the basket. 

 Ernest Hemingway

Good luck and enjoy.

© Kaite O’Reilly 26/11/11

Revision notes (4): Hemingway’s shoes

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I’m still in the US, mentoring young writers long distance, by email. I recently responded to a fragment sent for possible inclusion in Fflam Pwy? Whose Flame is it, anyway? the anthology I’m editing for Disability Arts Cymru as part of the Cultural Olympiad, celebrating the 2012 London Paralympic and Olympic Games. As I anticipated in the previous post, editing and mentoring provokes reflection on form and process. I include parts of my email here, as it seemed pertinent to ‘revision notes’:

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First: We need a story. Even with the most brilliant description and writing in the world, we need more than the observations to make our reading really satisfying and our writing successful.

This story doesn’t have to be a huge world-changing event – it can be a very small and simple discovery. Basically, by the end of the piece, SOMETHING MUST HAVE CHANGED – even if that’s our (the readers’) perception.

Second: A writer must have something to SAY – something to communicate to the world, otherwise we’re just examining our navels….

Apart from capturing the characters and this moment in time, what would you say you wanted to communicate in the fragment you sent? I had a sense something might be about to happen. I was expecting some revelation that would allow me to ‘see’ the characters in a new light – or even challenge my preconceptions as reader. I was waiting for an extra detail to turn the situation upside down – to subvert, surprise, reveal…

To really engage me as a reader, I need a plot, or something happening, or some action, or something promising to be revealed. There is a theory that we write and read in order to understand what it is to be human. When I think of the great short story writers I admire and the insight into humanity their work allows , this certainly seems to be the case: Grace Paley, Anton Chekov, Alice Munro, Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, Elizabeth Bowen, Yiyun Li, Flann O’Brien, Angela Carter, Edgar Allen Poe, Italo Calvino… More recent writers include Jackie Kay, Helen Simpson, Claire Keegan, AM Holmes – the list could go and on…  What they bring to me is a distilled moment from a life, which hints at the complexities in existence, in human interaction, in being.

On a prosaic level, we also need a beginning, a middle and an end…

As an exercise, see how short a story you can tell. Ernest Hemingway famously created a whole short story in six words:

FOR SALE. BABY SHOES. NEVER WORN.

In that, we have the whole world of the story and its tragedy – our minds are making up what might have happened: the baby died – or was adopted – or was a phantom pregnancy – or was stolen – or was….? My mind is alive with possibilities… and Hemingway suggests enough to get our imaginations and emotions activated (the pathos of those baby shoes), and then wisely leaves it to us to complete the story…

It has a beginning a middle and an end – but the end is ‘open’ and lets us make up what happened – but it still ends – and although we’re not told exactly what, we know something happened along the way – something fundamental, made of the stuff of life…

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I hope that those thoughts are useful for thinking about the basics of story writing.

For writers reading their favourite stories, go to The Guardian’s short stories podcast:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/audio/2010/dec/07/rose-tremain-yiyun-li-extra?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

Revision notes – writing is all about rewriting (1) Some differences between theatre and prose

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Interviewer: How much rewriting do you do?
Hemingway: It depends. I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, 39 times before I was satisfied.
Interviewer: Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?
Hemingway: Getting the words right.
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(Ernest Hemingway, “The Art of Fiction.” The Paris Review. Interview, 1956)
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Perhaps I’m perverse, but I love rewriting. It can be desperate and infuriating and impossible, plunging me into teeth-grinding, ulcer-inducing frustration, but when it comes out  ‘right’, which it does, eventually, nothing else gives me that sense of completion, of  satisfaction from getting the words right.
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And getting the words right involves so many factors – not just dialogue, or syntax and grammar, or what’s known mysteriously as ‘good writing’ – but a plethora of other elements including pace, rising tension, tempo-rhythm, fully-realised characters, a coherent narrative (if, indeed, a coherent narrative is the aim)… So much is involved in getting the words right, the phrase is appropriately Hemingway-esque: a masterly example of the understatement.
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Writing is all about rewriting. Writers serious about their work know there is no avoiding this fact.
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I am discovering, as I work increasingly across various media, that rewriting takes different forms, depending on the medium. My approach to rewriting prose is similar but different to my concerns when revising a play. There are criteria in common – dramaturgy/structure, hooking an audience/reader, compelling stories to tell, coherence and internal logic – but there are also discrepancies and clear partings of the way. Perhaps I’m mistaken in this, but I doubt few would say the following in a critique of a short story or novel, the feedback to a playwright I wrote today:
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‘There is a value in being messy – sometimes you have to lose control a little more – you have to be more emotionally messy and less controlled, which can also be thrilling for an audience.’
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Radio and novels are writing for an audience of one. It is the most intimate, sly, seductive of relationships – insinuating your ideas and your voice right inside the reader’s head, in the heart of their imaginations. Theatre is different. Traditionally it is a medium for an audience of many – all those strangers sitting there, shoulders rubbing together in the dark. It is a communal event, and one which expects and demands some form of participation. Unlike film and television, which can be inherently passive, with live performance you can’t get away from the live. You have someone there, now, right in front you, now, this very minute, doing something. That person can sometimes see you. You can sometimes smell them, if it’s a physical performance and you’re lucky to be close enough.
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What makes live performance so devastatingly exciting and present and corporeal is the fact we’re all in it together, breathing in the same air, sharing the same space, collectively becoming older by each minute we remain in each others’ company. There are some theatres and styles which try to create distance – that barricade of air, the fourth wall – and there are many productions, I’m sure, which, although well-meaning, are deadening and dull. But in its absolute essence the fundamental parts of the equation, as outlined above, are the same. A group of humans in a space watching another group of humans pretending to be other humans, telling stories about humans. It is barking, totally, wonderfully, mad. Which is why I love it and keep going back for more, despite that occasional deadening and dull production. It’s also why I think in its most essential aspects, writing for live performance has very different criteria than writing, say, a novel.
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So here are a few other pointers, relevant to the stage but perhaps not other forms:
  • It is happening NOW. Characters must be active and full of action (and please note, we are not talking car chases here: a thought can be an action).
  • When writing for live performance, you’re creating dynamic – an energy that is shared and moving through the cast and hopefully out into the audience.
  • Beautiful reveries, exposition, flashbacks and backstory can block the artery of live performance, stopping the flow and resulting in something dull and deadening.
  • Performance is ephemeral.  This particular show will never happen again. The composite experience of any particular performance will be created as equally by the audiences’ engagement, commitment and focus, as by what the people on stage are doing. Be aware of this communal act. Be aware of this extraordinary event.                          Now write words worthy of it.
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(c)kaiteoreilly 6/9/11