Here at Throwing Ink, I'll occasionally be talking about theatre (and often connect it to film craft) as it's my other "thang". I was going to do it in a whole separate theatre blog, but... that didn't make a lot of sense for me - I have little time to blog as it is and don't want to go a month without new posts in one blog because I'm posting all in the other one. Plus, they connect. I'll be calling these segments "Playing Pretend" and will have a little fun logo eventually. But for now...
|She's gonna hurt her eyes, embroidering in poor light like that...|
Now, don't jump on me - I by no means am suggesting that all plays and film should be paced like a blockbuster action movie, but don't you think many plays could learn from the blockbuster? Perhaps attract a larger audience? Increase mass cultural appreciation for the theatre?
|Yes, they're green. No, there's no Elphaba. Or Kermit. Wrong plays.|
However, while I have qualms about the lack of strength in it's female characters (as in, these female characters have no character - I couldn't remember which girl was which and can barely describe them beyond their relationships to the lovingly fleshed out male characters), this play is a brilliant example of the polish more plays could use. The scenes are tight, they move the story forward, and it carries you along. Every scene is started in the middle of the action, no matter how seemingly innocuous (one scene begins with the girls screaming about a wasp in the room - but this rather than everyone sitting and then the wasp is noticed before yelling begins) and never did I feel bored. I was interested in these characters (the male ones at least) and their stories - I wasn't wondering when something was going to happen, despite the majority of the play's action and dialogue being adolescent kids griping about school and personal relationships (of course the play is about more than that, but the point is I wasn't constantly reminded that this play has an important message as I sometimes feel I am in more *ahem* boring plays). Good job Simon Stephens.
Plays (and films) can be important and meaningful without making the audience suffer. A good story is a good story. The basics are the same whether you're talking action heroes or human rights heroes or Princess Muffy's dog having puppies. Keep it moving, kids.