If You Get Sick, or Get Bored, or it is Raining
A Homework Assignment
This past week I was in Los Angeles to record sessions on the podcasts Armchair Expert and Impact Theory. In both cases I walked away learning more than I could teach, so . . . my thanks to both. I’ll post links once they’re ready.
In my hotel room downtime, instead of watching television, I played my favorite version of the Tennessee Williams play Suddenly, Last Summer. With my eyes closed I listened to how the dialog repeats, constantly echoing words and rephrasing the same statements. It’s absolutely hypnotic. There are other versions of the play, but the Elizabeth Taylor version has added action sequences to make it more filmic—this breaks up the echoing call-and-responserhythm of the play’s dialog.
This poetic redundancy sounds very much like Daisy Buchanan’s dialog in Gatsby. If you’re stuck indoors by the weather, or you get sick, or whatever the case, please listen to the play. Just listen. The tight conditions of live theater—limited settings, limited time, limited characters, limited objects—are so close to everything the writing style of Minimalism espouses.
Also be aware of how the overall play is about framing the telling of a smaller story. It’s very much like the technique used by Tobias Wolff. At first the characters act to suppress Catherine Holly from telling the story. After the long tease, they rush the telling.
Note: This versionon YouTube is broken into six segments. As each ends the next will queue up. I’m not sure how I might test you on this homework assignment, but I might.
Very much like how birds call and respond.
Featuring Maggie Smith, Rob Lowe and Natasha Richardson. With only a few lines omitted from the stage version.
I saw the stage version in London years ago with Diana Rigg as Mrs Venables. Diana Rigg was a force of nature. This is a fantastic suggestion. I had been listening to Werner Herzog narration during spells of insomnia but I'll swop Werner out for Williams. I can't imagine a better way to be lulled to sleep (and experience traumatic dreams about a suffocating parent relationship, exactly the headspace I'm looking for to inform the writing I'm working on at the moment - thanks again!).
And here I thought you were going to focus on the sensations in the body or what it feels like to be bored and stuck indoors. I like the plot twist, Chuck. Keeping us on our toes!