Saturday, November 17, 2012

Is it more better yet?

I'm at a coffeeshop today, and have innumerable things to get done.  I say innumerable because I'm at the uncomfortable stage of the writing process where there are a bunch of things to do, but not many clear steps.  The play is on the right track (finally!), but there are a few continuity errors that have created big smelly problems, and there are several parts where things just need to be More Better.  How much More Better? I have no idea.  More Better enough that I don't get aggravated when I read it over.  That amorphous feeling of not-done-yet is a really unpleasant place to be, because it's easy to feel like it's going to be like this forever.  

One helpful thing, though, is that it's Arthur Week this week.  Arthur is the only adult character in Home Before Dark and (since the play is about child sexual abuse) has some pretty huge flaws as a human being.  I don't like him, and so I haven't been focusing on him, but it's time to do so.  Arthur Week involves going through the play just working on what's happening with Arthur emotionally and logistically, making sure his wants are clearly defined, all that stuff.  

At the reading, several people pointed out that I hadn't spent enough time on Arthur and he wasn't fully realized, but they also really responded to one of his lines in particular:

Do you want to [hit me in the face]? 
It's just not something I'm interested in.  Do you want me to? 
I don't know.
I like your face, is the thing.  

So I looked at that line, and what leads up to it -- which, really, is Arthur not wanting to hurt Sean.  He does, in many other ways, but that's not how he thinks about it.  And I grabbed onto that, and I've been stretching it backwards through the play, until this emerged in a much earlier scene:

[My mom] hates it when I yell.
Well, it’s loud.
                                    (Sean puts his head down on the table.)
                                    (Sean looks up.)
Anybody who doesn’t appreciate you is a fuckhead.

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