Wednesday, January 4, 2012

So I'm Reading This Book...

...called Characters in Action by Marsh Cassady. It's mostly about plays and stage, so some parts are a little irrelevant (to me, at least). But the author occasionally does this hilarious thing where instead of explaining something himself he'll write a dialogue section where the characters explain it for him. Here's an excerpt (don't you just love the word "excerpt"?) on collaboration:

The vision you have as a playwright will differ from what is produced on the stage. This is because once you finish the script, it is no longer completely yours. You are only one collaborator among many.
Playwright: Hey, you call this collaboration. Well, I don't think so, you know. I mean this isn't how I saw things at all. This isn't what I wanted.
Director: What you wanted! What's that got to do with anything? It's my baby now, and what I say goes.
Then later, after the playwright and the director squabble with the set designer, lighting designer, and costume designer...

Loud voice booms through the theater

Loud Voice: I am your producer; you will do as I say. and I say you will stop all this foolish bickering, or I'm going to fire the lot of you. Understood?

Lighting Designer: Bickering? We weren't bickering. (To Director) Were we bickering?

Director: We wouldn't do anything like that. Sorry, sir, if it appeared to you that we were bickering. What do the rest of you say? Does it appear to you we were bickering?

All: We weren't bickering; we collaborate; that's our job. We get along.

Loud Voice: Perhaps I was mistaken. Forgive my intrusion. I only want what's best for the production. I want to make money! But since you' weren't bickering - and you say you weren't and I believe you - I probably don't need to say this, but I will. Look, kiddies, any more of this ... this non-bickering, and you're history, got it?
I found myself skimming through the book just reading the dialogue parts. Here's another funny one:

According to Aristotle, author of The Poetics, the first important treatise on drama, a play should have a beginning, a middle and an end.

Not-So-Bright Student: Well, obviously man, everything that begins has to end. The world has to end, right? Even this class has to - oops. (Highly embarrassed, he abruptly sits down.)

Professor: It's okay. Nobody has to like the class. I mean just because you don't like it, I'm not going to give you an "F," am I? ... (Muttering to himself) Oh, yeah, a "D" minus but not an "F." (Resuming his professorial tones) What Aristotle meant was that a play should be complete in itself. Unlike old movie serials or soap operas, it should contain everything necessary for the audience to understand in its entirety. (Looking at Not-So-Bright Student) It should be "all there," in other words, unlike certain students who...
I'm almost done with the book and I'll review it on Goodreads as soon as I finish. Just a caution to anyone who's considering reading it after reading the excerpts - the book contains some language. I've mostly been skimming the book, but I did notice some.

By the way, I think I'll do these occasional "So I'm Reading This Book" posts. I'll talk about anything interesting I'm reading and post an excerpt from it that I found amusing. I may not fully recommend every book I post about it, but I will point out any funny or well-written sections.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...