I'm glad we've decided on this experiment of opening up our collaboration for review, although I'm trepidatious. Devore notes on your blog that to him writing is a private thing that he guards superstitiously. I suppose that as a director, I work against the impulse to feel this way. I think a serious problem facing American Theater is that people don't really know what director's are for or what they do. My blog has always been an effort to help address this.
Buddha Cowboy left an identical comment on both of our blogs that i'd like to quote:
I read The Shadow. I may be jumping way ahead here but, based on the story and based on your blog and Parabasis:
August 09, 2006
Why Do They Stay Away?
How is this play [you're] beginning going to remedy the August 9th post by Parabasis ?
I liked your response-- that hopefully by opening up the process we can spread information about the play and get more people interested.
I wanted to take this question a step further and just ask (of both of us):
(1) What is it that appeals to you about this project?
(2) What do you hope to accomplish with it?
For me I would say:
(1) Well, I wanted to work with you and thought this story would appeal to you. I've also wanted to adapt this story since first reading it. For me, it's the aspects of competition, and how Andersen firmly roots that competitiveness in class dynamics between the two characters. Also, I loved the idea of looking at "passing". Basically, the Shadow is someone who passes in society, but that passing is based on his denigrating another human being. He can't pass without subjucating The Writer. I feel like there's so many different allegorical directions one can take the material within these dynamics to examine issues of class and race in America. At the same time, it's a rich and good enough story that isn't reduced to both of those things.
(2) What I hope to accomplish with it is hard to answer before there's a draft of the text, of course. But I think this is a story that could have really broad appeal while remaining true to its pitch-black roots. It's a children's story, a fairy tale. But it ends with the main character being executed. (Actually, it originally ended with him being specifically hanged, but a friend of Andersen's convinced him to remain vague about the details of the death because it would wreck the story). I guess what I'm saying is, I see in Andersen's story, a really accessible way to do some work that's a little more out there. I mean, how do you stage an actor having another actor as his shadow? for example. I think about... how the heck do you light a play so that someone doesn't have a shadow?. This is all putting the cart before the horse, but I think what's great about this story is that it can't be accomplished completely realistically so it will challenge me and all of the collaborators to find other ways of working. But meanwhile, it has really strong narrative. So that's pretty cool.
Anyway... those are my answers for now. I'd love to hear yours. Also... should we post what you've written so far and at least the relevant parts of our past e-mail correspondence?