"Hysterical, campy fun!"
- Tony Brown, cleveland.com

"Full of suspense, romance, drama and lots of laughs!"

- Dan Shaurette, Out of the Coffin podcast

This extraordinary one-act drama deftly explores the evolution of the centuries-old vampire myth.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Seattle Snark



For a snarky Daily Show rip-off ... this is pretty fun.

LATER: And okay, yeah, even CAKE WRECKS gets in on the action. Hating on TWILIGHT is just too damn easy.

Got it.

School collapse.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

…away with you and your “technology”!

The problem with the narrator conceit and all of his annotations and research is that the artifacts of his early history are tangible - something you can easily pick up, handle and read. A diary, a newspaper clipping, a letter.

The third arc works very well because it is an actual interview, which is being recounted. One artifact, performed.

In the final piece he must return - for he cannot simply disappear, that would be bad form - but the artifacts are blogs and ... well, that one works, I show Lucy writing her blog. And there is a newspaper article, there are still print newspapers if only for another year or two.

(Side note: TKT criticized the newspaper style I wrote in, stating that the lede is the third "graph" when it should be - duh - the first. I told her I had used a real newspaper article as my guide. Super-side note: Blogger does not recognize the proper spelling of the word "lede" which should also tell you something.)

But I need a third piece, to cover something which cannot be performed onstage. I wanted it to be an amateur YouTube video of the bike stunt gone horribly wrong - but there's no way we can incorporate video into the outreach tour, so I thought it could just be the audio, but that's not making me happy at all. I'm thinking of making it an NPR spot.\\God, wouldn't it be hilarious if I could get Dan Moulthrop to cut it?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Clarity

Bless me, the stars come into alignment.

Daniel had a lot of red ink on the first scene, and much less as the play went on. I would like to think that means he got swept up in the story, and just couldn't raise his red pen again until he'd finished. Or maybe it's because the first scene is really awful and difficult to follow and I need to get rid of it.

Truth is, he really likes that scene, loves the language, the style - but there are many opportunities for an audience me be confused. Some things (like to main character's NAME) need to be made much more obvious up-front. Aubrey reads a letter, who is it front? About whom is the writer writing? If Aubrey picks up a diary and reads, is it his own diary, or someone else's? What is going on?

It is not a bad thing to force the audience to listen hard. But Lady Mercer, who is she? And so on.

Cool. I can work with that.

Don't forget, everyone but Americans write Date-Month-Year.

Why the Giaour? Why does he ask for that story?

We tripped through The Count sequence, the main question is - is this story so close to one everyone knows so well (or do they ..?) that the changes will confuse them?

In The Interview - can Eddie have greater responsibility for his brother's death? In this case - though Daniel does not object to the Kent State reference - it is passive enough as to not incur enough guilt. (Speaking of which - there's an article in today's Times about teenage runaways selling sex for security.) Guilt is a strong motivator. And it is what moves Louis in Rice's book.

Now ... as the piece becomes contemporary, Daniel suggest I spell certain things out a little less obviously. We are, after all, taking this into schools. Even using the words "sex" or "Jesus Christ" makes him nervous. I understand. And I can work with that.

And yes, I need to read Twilight. The whole thing.

Finally ... how to kill Porlock. I liked my idea, pulling his heart out, but it smacked Daniel of a scene from Temple of Doom. Grisly ... and stupid. However, he also freaked out at Porlock's description of surviving on the ship - biting down on a 'hapless rat.' That's good. I'm keeping that.

Monday, October 26, 2009

supervisor WIN!!!

My fears allayed, Daniel likes the script. I think this play is actually going to be the GLTF outreach touring play for 2010.

Whew.

Daniel

My boss has read the script. Now we are going to chat. As you hear of me, so think of me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Drafted

First draft down, it feels so good to have this stage wrapped up. There is so much missing, I think, but I cannot include absolutely everything. It's an education piece AND an entertainment, I m at once fearful of being didactic, but then I need to make the point of each segment clear. Clear to understand not only WHO and WHAT (these most concerned Daniel - we don't want to confuse the audience) but also WHY. Not the characters' WHY, but mine. Why are we doing this? Why vampires? What is the point?

I think I have that, or at least enough to get the ball rolling.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

In Search of Dracula

Desire

Have you ever had that dream where there's an extra wing on your house you didn't know was there? And it's the greatest place in the world, everything you've ever wanted is right there. When I was a child, it was filled with toys and candy. But now, whenever I turn the corner - it's just him. Have you ever wanted something so badly you can't tell if the wanting or the having will destroy you first?

Edwin

How to describe the longing ... for warmth, for friendship or any kind. The day-long night, interrupted by the slightest touch of sunlight. It just bobs, for a moment, and slinks away. I want to scream, "No! Come back! Who are you? Must you go? Do you hate me that much?"

I met a boy. He's different. And I think I make him sick.

Plans

I will have two hours this afternoon, dedicated to completing this script. Two hours. I have most of the pieces parts for the final scene ... it is so hard to finish with Twilight and be serious. Everything else is so hard-core ... but it's hard-core cheese, isn't it? I mean ... I'm writing about vampires.

Ends are neatly tied, because people will want that. Secrets are revealed, because people will want that. But knowing the end makes it difficult to write the beginning (of this one scene.) Each subsequent scene has been harder than the last, I guess that is to be expected. How to make Dracula follow naturally from The Vampyre, and so on. I am glad they have a unifying thread, rather than just disparate one-acts.

Two hours. To think like a teenage girl.

Hate is an angry thing. Hate destroys everything. Hate is the absence of all kindness, sympathy and understanding. If you are upset, be specific about what is bothering you. Please do not use the word "hate." - Pengo's pedantic advice to a small child.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happiness

And have you ever wanted something so badly
that it possessed your body & your soul
through the night & through the day
until you finally get it!
And then you realize that it wasn't what you wanted after all.
And then those selfsame sickly little thoughts
now go & attach themselves to something....
....or somebody....new!
And the whole goddamn thing starts all over again.

- The The, "True Happiness This Way Lies"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Midnight sun

This is a shout-out to all the lonely people, the dark, the melancholy, the possessed. My life has been inverted, someone reached down into my throat and pulled me inside out. Mom died, that’s it, and I was packed off to be with my dad. It took a day to make the journey from Hawaii to Alaska, but it feels like I have already been dead a lifetime.

My home ... what has been my home, a little island, perhaps, but wrapped around it the many climates of the earth, volcanic, balmy, constant showers, desert, rainforest, everything - but cold. Not cold, never cold. No walls, no windows, and every space a contour, undulating, constant motion in the stillness of one tiny hunk of lava.

But here. Flat, hard, grey and still. Even the wind, which is constant, is still. The people, too, each one owning their own truck - flat, grey, hard and still. Flat, grey faces. I am searching for signs of life in North Pole, Alaska.

I have never felt so far from everywhere.

Piano

Listening to the Twilight soundtrack tonight - the score, not the rock songs. Carter Burwell. What do you know, he's written the score for some of my favorite movies of the past fifteen years, and I never knew his name.

I had to pick it up because I was enjoying the piano themes in the movie. It was surprising to me, though it shouldn't have been, the music I have been choosing as inspiration for this script. Ludovico Einaudi. Philip Glass. Erik Satie. A descending cascade of single notes, simple melancholy.

And I cannot write. I mean, I have been writing, in spurts, for several days. I know how this must end, and knowing makes it so much more trite - I wish I had written all the way up to the end, and THEN realized the secret. I didn't even know there was a secret. And it's a doozy - thankfully, because I hadn't thought of it until now.

Check this: Musings of a High School Vampire. It's really bad. It's so bad, I don't believe a high schooler wrote it, it's like a terrible adult writer trying to write like a high school students.

Which is what I am patently avoiding doing. Right now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Meaning of "Xanthe"
Greek name

In Greek, the name Xanthe means- blonde, yellow. The name Xanthe orginated as an Greek name. The name Xanthe is most often used as a girl name or female name.

Greek Meaning - blonde, yellow
Origin - Greece

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rights

Well ... the Unit liked it.

I was most concerned about this piece, because though it is inspired by events in Interview, it is the most original part of the story to date. I was feeling really insecure about it.

So what do you know, they found it the most original part of the story to date. You know, in that good way.

SG said it was confident, that it was really mine, and not so much like an adaptation, the way the previous scenes are.

FS felt that if Eddie were truly reticent about providing information (see: only seven questions) he warmed up too fast. DM suggested it may be a game he's playing and he likes how the interviewer is playing it - but it's a good point, making it clear that Eddie is enjoying the interviewers questions would help.

MG approved of Eddie's candor and his clear voice. FS thought the ending was quite a surprise, which it won't really be to people familiar with Rice's novel.

Which brings us to SG's concern about rights. Is this telling too close to Interview? Is it a rip-off or an homage? EC was quick to point out (somewhat cheekily) that this is an educational tour, but it begs the question. What are the parameters of satire, homage, parody, tribute - god forbid, fan fiction.

I have to say, I really, really enjoy SG's voice for Porlock.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vocabulary

Sin, society, pestilence, propriety.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Evolution of the Vampire
We look at the cinema history of the bloodsucking undead
- Empire Magazine

Okay, so ... not exactly an original title. But I'm working it.

Forgiveness

Wrapped up Arc Three. Not entirely satisfied with the ending, but then this is not the end. I went back over the story as Porlock tells it ... this is very challenging, trying to give it a whiff of Rice's novel, but not an overpowering one. I have to keep asking myself the questions - why this book, how does it fit, how is it different?

The answer, because we are used to this kind of vampire tale, may not be obvious. But how much more clearer can it be - the vampire was not the main character in the first two, he is a monster who invades, and here he is the central character, to be sympathized with, to be identified with. Maybe even to be pitied.

And now ... teen stuff.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dork Shadows

Barnabas Collins: Scary.
Jonathan Frid: Creepy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How Tom Hanks decided to be an actor

"My other friends from junior high school were doing the plays, and I saw my friend in one of the plays and I thought, you mean you get to do this in school? It was Dracula, in which Dr. Van Helsing suddenly became Dr. Fong, because we had a, you know, an Asian -- the vampire expert Dr. Fong was in to talk about how to kill Dracula, and I just thought that looked like the most fun you could ever possibly have, so the next year I started doing that ..."

- Backstage with Tom Hanks, 10/12/09

At night ... we sleep.

I watched maybe an hour of TWILIGHT last night.

IT'S ... SO ... BORING ...

I mean, painfully boring. I was into it for awhile, I was getting it, I saw the attraction - until the time came for Edward to "come out" as a vampire to Bella. The confession, that ridiculous bit where he puts her on his back and heh, runs up the hill - you know, rilly, rilly fast ...

I'm sorry, it was cheesy beyond belief. God, I try to be all sensitive and open-minded ... that thing is CRAP.

I know everyone makes fun of the shimmering thing, too, I thought that was unfair - until I saw it. Oh sweet Jesus, vampires are dark, evil, blood-eating, non-human monsters. They don't shine in the sunlight. They die in the f*cking sunlight, or they aren't vampires. If you are a blood-sucking fiend that shines like a penny in the sunlight, then you are a Mormon or something.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fang Hag

What's Really Going on With All These Vampires? - Esquire

Vampires pop up at certain moments in history ? Thank you for bolstering my argument.

Tonight I watch TWILIGHT. Pray for me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Interviewer: What happens now? Is this when I become a vampire?

Eddie: No. This is when you die.
There. Got that out of my system. Now I don't have to use it in the script.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Outside, it is America.

And now, The Interview.

The pieces of this puzzle came to me yesterday, or maybe Monday (I am addled with a nasty headcold - is there any other kind?) It the most challenging part, and the furthest from its source material. The fledgling must be more recently made, most likely American, young - and yet, we need to approximate the scene near the end of the novel in the abandoned house in the Garden District.

The previous two arcs were created by hitting the most important scenes, and then bridging with "documentation." This scene I am more or less writing from beginning to end, leaping bits that have not come into focus yet.

It is also frightfully (heh) difficult to break out of the vernacular of the previous installments, I keep going back and simplifying syntax and creating contractions.

The scene has a surprising bit of me in it. I mean, of my personal history. And what may or may not be an uncomfortable amount of recent world history in it, and by recent I mean not two hundred years ago. What do Kent State and Hurricane Katrina have to do with each other? Wait and see ...

It is currently a pleasing, violent, dirty mess to write. I will clean it up.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Clarity

Yes, calrity. What I like to think of as the "mystery" in my work, others call "confusing" or "obtuse" or - as CF put it, "you're so weird."

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to bounce this piece off people as I go along. Having the Vampyre piece pull into focus helped inform the Dracula chapter, and so on. So much exposition, so little time. But people are being pulled along, and that's good, too.

TKT had a few questions regarding both chapters together;
As a muslim, why is Xanthe Greek and not, say Turkish?

If Aubrey is abandoned in what is now modern-day Turkey, it would make more sense that he finds his way to Romania.

Will what happened in the cabin ever become clear - because now it is not.
No, what happens in the cabin is not yet clear. But one day it will be - hopefully in the 1980s. We'll see.

She also wanted to know what the Narrator's agenda is - does he have character? Is he a character? Why this obsession with vampires, and why is he telling us all this?

At the Unit today we read the Dracula arc.
London should be mentioned up front.

It is not clear Jonathan is setting out to get Porlock. (He leaves and we never see him again.)

If I want Anti-semitism to stand out (in particular, as opposed to general xenophobia or race-hatred) I need a bigger hammer.
MO pressed me for the rules so many months ago, and I have begun to provide them. But he also impressed upon me the need not to play safe with the rules - he was them to "derail" somehow.

MG is familiar with The Vampyres: A Play - both versions, I think - and wants to know why I, personally, want to return to this. What are the personal relationships in this tale which spell that out?

MO wants more blood, and more bodies. I informed him we are creating this for a) Catholic girls schools and b) assisted living facilities. He doesn't care, he wants more blood.

I'll work on that.

Rape

Folklore describes numerous ways to become a vampire - like an animal leaping over your corpse. That's not fair, but maybe the Devil has something to do with it. Maybe it is just a sign that you already are one.

I was not aware, however, as I am reading Dracula for the first time (yes, it's true) that Stoker clearly defined drinking the blood of an existing vampire as the sure and true way to become one. Of all the tropes Anne Rice discarded, she stuck fast to this one - in fact, it defines The Vampire Chronicles.

What I was not prepared for was the surprisingly graphic nature of the scene where the menfolk 1) discover Dracula pressing Mina's face to his naked breast and 2) where the discuss the act right in front of her. I am shocked now, a hundred an twelve years ago, people must have fainted.

Because unlike the earlier business with Lucy, or even Dracula first visiting Mina in her room, it's all metaphoric enough to get through without feeling queasy. But this part is a direct sexual assault, it's sexual violence, and more than anything it defined to me the Count as a monster, and not merely an "other" or himself a metaphor for an outsider. Yes, this even after crushing Renfield's spine.

And all of the men standing around, simultaneously comforting Mina and at the same time shaming her by their reaction to what has happened, making her describe it in front of all of them. Later still, Van Helsing casually mentioning the "big meal" Dracula has had and how he will sleep late. Thoughtless. The woman needs counseling, and these bozos are not doing it for her.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Truly disturbing

Pre-Nazi German Anti-Semitism in the First Vampire Movie

Nosferatu (1921) Class Movie Review

Stormfront.com review
Murnau may have plagiarized Nosferatu's Count Orlock from Bram Stoker's Dracula; however, it can be argued that Bram Stoker plagiarized Dracula from Jewish identity.

A challenge, on my life

Dracula in ten pages. Good luck with that.

The book? The play? The film - and if so, which one?

Let's try to cram all of them in there.

Thursday, October 01, 2009