Friday, January 06, 2006

Stretching oneself

It's been a surprisingly busy week here in Bucks county as I've been working diligently on my stage play collaboration. I'm closing in on another draft and am feeling in high spirits as it's looking very tight and I can now see it being produced. I think next week I'll give you Act I Scene I which is the same opening as the novel. Throughout the process, Phil and I have been able to stay pretty faithful to the novel, though some things had to go because they didn't fit, etc.

Last night Phil emailed me the Properties list, which is a theatrical term for all the props that are required. He's now working on the music, etc while I complete this critical draft. I really have learned a great deal about the theater process as a result of our collaboration. He really is talented and his absolute love for the theater is very infectious.

One thing I've been struggling with is that Eileen and Gabriel, as two core characters, appear a lot at the beginning and end of chapters in the novel. It's the same with the scenes in the play. This makes it very difficult for the director as his or her actors need time to effect costume changes between scenes, etc. So I've had to devise methods to allow this to happen fluidly and add new dialogue where a device won't work. It's these sort of critical elements that, if not addressed so there are loopholes and impossibilities, can cause a riveting manuscript to be shot down by a theater.

Drafting the play from my novel has shown me that I'm much more than a novelist, that writing novels is not enough to keep me interested and motivated. So my new year resolution regards my writing is to complete this play, write another one that's been niggling to be written for years (one my father is very keen for me to write) and also complete the screen play of A Son Called Gabriel. I'll also continue to work on my first American set novel, which I haven't looked at for ages.

While the plays or 'Gabriel' screen play may never get picked up, I've nevertheless decided I'm the best person to write stage and screenplays based on my own work. And there is a body of writing from Irish writers that's made it onto the screen and the Leicester Square and Broadway theaters. Director Neil Jordan has done films based on novels by Patrick McCabe such as The Butcher Boy and his latest, Breakfast on Pluto. Jordan alos wrote The Crying Game, one of my all time favorite movies. I feel if he and others can adapt or write original screenplays, so I can, too. It's vital to stretch oneself in life, to do what one fears, because, in doing the task, one sumultaneously achieves the objective and realizes that the people who do these things possess no monopoly over the required magic. In any event, I'd rather do my own adaptations than risk some young, inexperienced writer working for a studio taking my characters and putting them in situations they would never experience, etc. I know my characters best, I know Ireland, and I know my work.

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Dorothea said...

2006 will be your year, Damian! I can already see "Gabriel" as a Motion Picture and Broadway Play.
Good luck with everything.

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