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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-response1 rhythm 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.
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.