Friday, 6 February 2009

The Coma and the shadows

The FamilyFinished reading 'The Coma' by Alex Garland. Very interesting book with some really clever ideas about perception of reality and dream-like states - both of which are themes that 'The Family' tries to explore...

I'll read you the blurb from the inside cover: "A young man is brutally assaulted late at night on an Underground train by a gang of thugs. Beaten unconscious, he lies for days in a hospital bed - but appears to make a full recovery. On discharge from hospital, Carl picks up the threads of his daily life, visiting friends, seeing his girlfriend - until he starts to notice strange leaps in his perception of time, distortions in his experience. Is he truly reacting with the outside world, or might he be terribly mistaken? So begins a dark psychological drama that raises profound questions about the boundary between the real and the imagined."

The book's more surreal moments contain an essence of something I'm trying to capture in the play. Whilst reading it I kept thinking how good it would be as a short film - and this raised an interesting question for me: 'does my writing contain an element of screenwriting as opposed to/well as playwriting?' It would be fair to say that I have more experience of watching film and TV and studying the quality of words. It's no secret that I'm a huge Doctor Who fan - at times when watching it I hear specific lines that leap out: often fantastic, sometimes cringing. But there's something magical about what is written for that show - perhaps that is a feature of writing for sci-fi? But I've noticed a similar trait in my writing - specific lines that leap off the page (hopefully not into the cringe category!).

On the other hand, ITV's Whitechapel debuted Monday night and was, without a doubt, brilliant. The performances were excellent and the writing superb - but I don't remember any of the lines. But then does that matter? Does remembering a line mean it's good? Or does it stand out for another, more negative reason?

In other news, I've had some flashes of inspiration for the final scene of the play. Shadows will play a part so need to go back into the first act and add some hints to it. This actually comes from the poster design - when I made it about six months ago I knew I wanted the image of dark shadows appearing to push through - I had no idea why but that it had to be included. And now, it all slots into place... 'citin' stuff!