Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Rehearsal: day 2

Early on in the play, a character says:
And do we? Know ourselves?

Let us use dialogue to discover!

That’s in a way what we’re doing just now. Or at least I am.

Reading the play to each other, pausing to reflect upon it, and ask questions on what it’s about.

Everyone asks me, reasonably enough, and I always answer. Or at least try to.

But actually the truth is that their guess is (almost) as good as mine.

I used to feel guilty about that. I used to think it was one of the many things about me that made me a bad writer.

But not any more. That's just part of the process.

Because when I start to write a speech I hardly ever know how it’s going to end. The character does.

Nor do I really know what’s going to happen next. The characters do...

And now the actors are reading it, I listen to it in some amazement.

When I was a university student, and basically trying to avoid being a writer, I loved investigating other people’s work. (This being easier and generally less painful than creating my own).

I would look at the work and try to elucidate what the writer’s intention was.

But if my experience is anything to go by, there is no conscious intention. At least not in the sense that I was investigating it.

The only conscious intention that I’m aware of is the attempt to try to create something that works well on stage.

Perhaps the authors I studied were cleverer than me.

Perhaps it’s just arrogant of me to say I doubt it.

But I strongly suspect that in one sense all I was doing for those years of study was wasting my time.

At least on the conscious level. Unconsciously, I think I was doing something else altogether.

I must have been trying to discover a voice of my own.


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