So, I’m writing a play.
I had a vague idea that adapting my long poem sequence, The Courtesans Reply, for stage would be fairly straightforward once I had the right equipment (books) and made the characters walk and talk. Obviously I was mistaken. It’s a foreign country with a strange climate.
Reading David Edgar’s ‘How Plays Work’ is a revelation:
Dr Johnson’s dictionary defines a play as: ‘A poem in which the action is not related, but represented; and in which therefore such rules are to be observed as make the representation probable.’
The playwright David Hare sees theatre as essentially metereological – like the weather, it happens when two fronts meet: what the actors are doing and what the audience is thinking. The literary critic J.L. Styan insists that ‘the play is not on the stage but in the mind.
This is incredibly exciting. Though I find I’m only capable of moving in reverse.