Archive for the ‘Stephen Sondheim’ Category

Great Quote

June 24th, 2008 No comments

There’s a great quote about playwrights from Stephen Sondheim at Intermission.

I’m struck by both the insight and the originality of how it’s put. As quoted: “They invent. They make whole cloth out of nothing. They make a hat where there never was a hat.”

I guess I’m struck by this because I’m in the midst of the playwriting process right now for Ingenuity. It is a completely collaborative process, so we’re doing a lot of generating and sharing, generating and sharing. The bulk of it revolves around exercises that aim at getting to different ways of seeing and exploring a subject. The Ingenuity pieces are operating loosely under the title Know Your Future and there will be tents and other venues around the festival where actors “give” our fortunes.

We’ve also been exploring the many ways in which fortunes are told, which is quite interesting: cards, dice, tea leaves, palms, runes, there is a great one called “The Book of Fate” which apparently Napoleon relied upon, Chinese fortune telling that examines the Chi, etc. But I digress…

The point is just how amazing it is to sit with all of these writers and watch the process of making “whole cloth out of nothing.” Geither spits out few ideas or phrases and whole pieces emerge: people come to life, situations evolve and develop, actions take meaning: a world is created, populated, and breathed to life. Here is an exercise contributed by a classmate that follows Geither’s pattern:

Write a monologue from the point of view of someone who is much older or much younger than you (i. e. child vs. 90 y/o) and who has a specific talent or area of interest that is a part of their daily life (not fortune telling of course.)

In the monologue the fortune teller must do the following things: (in any order)

  • refer to an outside source
  • tell a story from their childhood
  • put something onshow the fortune-seeker a picture
  • eat and/or drinks something
  • throw a tantrum
  • ask fortune-seeker to repeat them
  • use a spatula
  • quote someone famous
  • give a fortune without verbal expression

The point, of course, being that this serves as a launching point–the few strands from which we will make the bolt.

I’ll attach my whole cloth in a separate entry.

Thanks to JD for the quote.

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