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Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Mary Anning Play - another chapter

After the first go at the 25 minute monologue we've also decided that we should aim a version for 9 to 12 year olds in school.  This is fine by me because I have written a lot for this age group in the past and I find it very enjoyable. At this age most kids are very receptive of ideas and like to be spoken to as adults so its important not to dilute or speak down too much.  I find the trick is to shorten sections so that the audience can concentrate hard until you give them a bit of breathing space to catch up.   I expect that we will be working  mostly in schools or educational areas and, frankly, these are not ideal theatre spaces.  Kids will be sat on the floor in a lot of places so its important to keep things moving forward briskly with  some sort of wriggle opportunities.

But, all in all, the piece requires exactly the same attention to character and situation that I would give to the full length play or the monologue aimed at adults.

Since the last time I posted we have visited Mary's stamping ground in Lyme Regis and followed her footsteps along the clayey, clingy beach and under the dark forbidding cliffs.  So I have a much richer sense of place and the character.

Last time I told you about "Chasing" where I'm chasing out details to enrich the piece.  Well, now I'm going through a process I call "combing" where I kep returning to the script from the beginning and combing out some of the tangles and finding hidden pieces of character that I have buried in either intentionally or unconsciously.  That leads me on to another process of reinforcing and amplifying character traits within the dialogue (or monologue as in this case).  I call this "grooming" and its where the character begins to gain real solidity and depth.

Rewriting the monologue for children has enabled me to develop all three of these processes so much that I can actually hear Mary's voice each time I read through.  Oh yes,  its a play.  Its meant to be performed so each time I go through I read it out loud.  The voice has to be right when spoken so I'm spending most of my time chattering way to myself.  Goodness only knows what the neighbours think.

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