Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The play's the thing. The play's the thing!
Drafts, drafts. Too many drafts. The beery kind and now drafts of a play that some people suddenly want and I can't finish the damn thing. Reminds, me, oddly of the time I set out to be a writer and the money came long before I finished the book.
I will never have that kind of luck again and have lately had to go the hard way. Flogging my play--though still unfinished--to all an sundry until some producer finally twigged.
Anyway, another draft of the play
THE FIRE IN BRADFORD
ACT ONE. SCENE ONE. INT. PUB NIGHT.
A MAN IS DRINKING AT THE BAR. IT IS DAVID.
HE IS IN A REALLY COOL ENGLISH- STYLE PUB, IN FRONT OF AN OAKEN, BRASS-CORNERED BAR. THERE IS GENERAL TUDOR- AND -PLASTER ATMOSPHERE. THERE ARE OAK TABLES IN FRONT OF THE BAR WHICH NOW DAVID FACES. WELL PAST THE TABLES AND ON ANOTHER WALL THERE IS A DARTBOARD AND SOME SCOTTISH- SOUNDING PLAYERS HAVING A LEISURELY GAME AT IT.
DAVID NOW TURNS AWAY FROM US TO FACE THE BAR, ON WHOSE LEFT WALL THERE IS A WIDE PLASMA TV SCREEN WITH SOMETHING PLAYING ON IT. THERE IS NOW A STILL IMAGE...IMAGE OF A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN. IT IS CELIA, IN FULL MARILYN MONROE MODE. SAUCY. COQUETTISH.
DAVID STARES AT THE SCREEN, TAKES A DRAUGHT OF HIS ALE AND THEN TURNS AGAIN TO FACE US.
Oh. Hello.Pleased to meet you. We've been drinking for a while, and, as you'd expect, you get someting like my life story, or part of it. Urequieted love really. My story might be like The Fall-- out of Camus or somewhere. Or an opener for a bar scene in a movie. You know the drill: "Excuse me, said the man at the bar"--But I'm really glad you're here. And have I got a story for you...No.Don't fidget. You may identify! Listen, now.
I am a wigged-out English teacher.
And ah, yes, yes, You're starting to yawn but no, this will wake you up. You got your beer...Go ahead. Have a good draught.Have a smoke. Now just look up there...
Just look up at that screen for a bit, and I'll supply a sound track for you...Maybe a soundtrack for your own sad love. No. Don't fidget. I guarantee that this will be an experience. You've been in love. I've been in love. Can you not see Celia the way I see her? Look up. Focus on the screen now. I want to share this with you.
OUT OF HIS TWEED JACKET POCKET, DAVID PRODUCES A POUCH OF TOBACCO ALONG WITH A PACKET OF YELLOW VOGUE CIGARETTE PAPERS. HE PUTS A PINCH OF TOBACCO INTO THE KNURLED OPEN PAPER AND BEGINS TO ROLL A CIGARETE WHILE SAYING:
Celia appears before you while you are rolling your own cigarettes, the 1920's Vogue face, the bobbed hair, a beautiful flapper not yet fallen into the rye on one September day, though I would know in future September days that she had a hunger for opium and cocaine, and that would make her thoroughly modern, thoroughly like My Lady of the papers.
Hash papers, and hot knives.
I was in fact a newspaperman,and something of a linguist. Being Canadian, French came easily to me and I was influenced influenced while young by French authors because they were so maddeningly thorough, that mark of real writers, and so well did I get to know 20th century authors in French that I soon got to teach a night course in it. Ah, that French penchant for the absurd, the splayed-out mysticism of an Andre Marois, and that incredible clarity of image and idea that only the French writers possess--and they'd be the first to tell you. The French are somewhat superior and they know it. Heh. And they will tell you. "To know our history, you will have to know our pain."
Enough that I was a teacher of French authors and she walked in one day with no hint of the Vogue beauty that I would later get to know, no inkling as to the heaviness of spirit that would later come to oppress me, no clue at all as to the beautiful woman who resided in the suburban Mam's bib overalls she used to wear to my classes, the little white tee shirt with the apple on it, or the closely cropped hair of the liberated, funky, suburban young woman.
Scribble, scribble scribble, eh Ivan?