Wednesday 6 November 2019

Theatrical Inspiration

Having shaken loose, at least temporarily, from my academic bondage - although preperation for the forthcoming viva has to begin this week - I have been indulging myself with a few trips to the theatre. Writers can get inspiration from other writers and I always find it interesting to watch how dramatists have done their thing. So - what have I learned from four productions?

The Mousetrap - vintage, but still going strong, the current tour visited Cardiff and I enjoyed the performance. What did it offer a writer? Suspense, and red herrings, from a mistress of the art. Agatha Christie knew what she was doing. I'm going to see Witness for the Prosecution in a few weeks time - it will be interesting to see how the two compare. Classic detective whodunnit against court room drama.

Midsummer Night's Dream, the current Watermill tour. If it's Shakespeare it has to be the poetry. A play full of words and all about the power and madness of love. What more could a romantic novelist ask?

Frankenstein - now this was an unknown quantity, a new play by Rona Munroe, which I saw on Halloween. It told the story of the book, but included the original author, Mary Shelley, in the production. It was an intriguing concept, and Mary's struggles to get he characters to behave, to make connecting bridges between the scenes she had tumbling through her mind, and frightening herself with what she had imagined and called into being, in the monster, were very familiar.

Cyrano de Bergerac, at Bristol Old Vic. I'd not been to the theatre since it had a major revamp, so it was interesting to see the results and try and fit what was there now with how it used to be. The play - love, poetry, swordplay and swashbuckling, a damaged hero, and a poignantly tragic ending. Not one I would have written as I am firmly wedded to the HEA, and my publisher expects it, but still a masterclass in love and the tension that accompanies it. And I have not given up the idea of finishing that Georgian smuggling story I have lurking in a drawer.   

Four very different plays, but I got something from all of them, which I hope will inspire future writing.

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