Friday, October 10, 2008

A Blog (pause) Post

Harold Pinter introduced the pause. That little stage direction changed theatre. It reminded us that some of the best tension is in silence, and that we must consider timing a significant part of the process.

So, that pause appeared in the 60s. What is today's equivalent?

No need to look any further than Suzan-Lori Parks. She took that pause, and then gave it a softer name: (rest). This name adds a musicality to the tension. Suddenly, playwriting is more akin to composing than literature.

She also surprised people with scene 19 in her play Venus. No dialogue, just a repetition of two characters' names.

She calls this a spell. I think that's a beautiful description.

This is where we are in theatre; it's the point where we must decide the next step. Our imaginations were stolen by film. It said forget about your poetry, and let's just tell a real story.

That's fine for a film where reality is captured and preserved. But theatre must leave a residue on the imaginations of its audiences. We never present a complete world to an audience. It's the opposite. We leave holes and create something spiritual.

See, the religious believe in God despite there being holes in his existence. I believe in Suzan-Lori Parks' scene 19. To me, it is beautiful.

Put holes in your script. Don't define everything. That's how you get magic.

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