Making a PlayScript — some notes.
Most of our work so far has been aimed at turning stories into plays. This is an interesting and instructive activity laced with moments of both hope and despair. In the case of Poe’s “Murders in the Rue Morgue” one has to contend first with the author’s impulse to be a show off and to construct long sentences that no one could possibly say using an affected and (from our modern point of view) antique diction with an implausible British tinge. There — you see I’ve done it myself!
Considerable editing has been necessary.
And it becomes important to replace paragraphs of erudite discourse with something that might play and interest an audience. The brings me to the staging.
In a few places we’ve managed to turn conversation into action — the best example is the assault on the little girl in “Jekyll and Hyde.” A character begins the description and then other characters come onstage and he stands and joins them in doing the scene. If we can get it to work it will function like a transition in a film that moves us from a shot of someone telling what happened to the action itself. We continue to look for opportunities to do this sort of thing.
In the Poe story the murder takes place in a second-floor room. Since we wanted to use a single set, the same one for both plays, the scene of the crime had to be moved down to the ground floor. This turned out to be easier to do than we had thought and solved a lot of problems. The murder itself is not shown directly but there is a lot of screaming. We can manage that and the ensuing hubbub in the street when the police arrive. The scene later when Auguste makes his investigation can be done by making a front wall become transparent so the audience can see him. This wouldn’t work so well if he needed to be on the second floor — sight lines and angles being the main problems.
The work with the scripts is close to being done for now. Soon I hope we will move on to casting and then rehearsals. As the work progresses we will be adding more to the scripts in the way of stage directions, sound effects and animation cues.