Monday, March 28, 2011
The Mary Anning Play - update
Well, I've achieved the first goal which is to deliver a 25 minute monologue based on the play to Jane McKell at AsOne theatre Co. I've entitled this "Mary Anning's Fossil Depot". Jane rang me on Saturday to say that she liked it so I feel fairly satisfied. But this is only a draft. I've asked Jane to pick the bits she likes from what I've done and I'll amplify these and drop out bits that may not suit. There is still a lot of information that needs to go in but the crucial thing is that I have got the character of Mary Anning (as I see her) pretty well established and I can now use her in various situations. Once the character has reached this stage the writer begins to realise what the issues are that surround her. The fact that her work was largely unrecognised in her lifetime because of her class and sex will inform her character and what she does but this is a better approach than to start with the issues as many inexperienceds writers do and then try and make the character a mouthpiece for them. It is also important when dealing with these sort of issues that a twenty-first century writer doesn't distort the actuality of the situations with his or her own sensibilities. For instance, Mary Anning was putting a pretty hefty spoke in the wheel of religion at that time because her work was disproving the accepted biblical interpretation of history. On the other hand, Mary herself was a staunch supporter of her church, first as a Congregationalist and later as an Anglican. We must accept that Mary was able to square this circle and not impose some sort of later ideology on her thinking.