Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Advantage of Multiple Authors

One of the things that we confront in Merry Devil is its extreme genre bending. There's something here for everyone. We have clowns, tragedy, romantic comedy, real character growth and development, situation comedy, wizards, devils, and a mildly crazy guy with a shot gun. While rehearsing one of the scenes this morning, it occurred to me that having multiple authors might just make the play that much more interesting.

Certainly having multiple authors makes the play easier to write. Or quicker, at least. It's hard enough to bang out a scene, let alone write one in verse, and having someone to write the second scene would certainly help us get a finished product together more quickly. No imagine this hypothetical two scene play that myself and my equally hypothetical friend write: I want to write a tragedy, and he wants to write a comedy. I envision a doe-eyed heroin who is pure in every way imaginable, and he's thinking of her as a crafty wench who doesn't need to wait for someone else to save her. And because we only have enough time for very basic re-writes and edits, both versions of the character make their way onto the page, and thus to the stage.

What we get is a play that transcends either genre that we started off writing for, and that features a character of greater depth and scope than either I or my friend would have written individually. Naturally, our writing is guided by a central plot, but tragedies and comedies have separate conventions of language and style. The resulting play combines those conventions, maybe not in the same scene, but within the same play and plot, and the result is a play that doesn't conform to either genre. Whether this means its a mess that the audience can't make sense of or is a synergy of styles more entertaining than either one would be alone is left for the audience to judge.

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