The Next Step

Tomorrow it will be two months exactly since I finished an initial complete draft of my musical play, Eden in Babylon. I told myself earlier that I would wait two months before looking at it again.   Obviously, the two months are almost up.

What will I see when I take a look at the gargantuan labor of love that I hammered out between Thanksgiving Day of 2016 and March 4th of this year?   Well, to be honest with you, I took a little peek at it two or three nights ago.  What I have seen, so far, is this:

1. A number of the characters don’t quite act like themselves when they first enter into the action.  This is because I got to know them better as the story unfolded.

2. Although it is a musical, and one expects the characters to break into song periodically, sometimes the songs are not sufficiently motivated by what’s happening in the story line.  Or, if they are, the transition between spoken dialogue and sung lyrics is awkward or forced.

3. I run the happy risk of pissing of right-wing fundamentalist evangelical Christians left and right, even though I am a Christian.

4. It might be too long.

5. My plan to obfuscate deus ex machina by throwing in so many instances of it into the final scene may or may not work.   Either the audience will be skyrocketed into a higher dimension of suspension of disbelief or they will be completely let down.   There seems no in between. 

The first of these should be pretty easy to fix, now that I do know my characters fairly well.  The second may take some work.  However, my plan to smooth out those transitions while in the process of creating the piano-vocal score seems sound. 

ChurchillThe third is actually more of a bother than I may let on, but that’s only because I’m paranoid about being lambasted by others who identify with a Christian belief system.  In reality, some of those ultra-right-wingers don’t give anybody a break.  The fourth is a much better problem to have than its opposite.  Better to submit it too long, and permit the director to chop it up at discretion, than to submit it too short, and have it appear to be incomplete. 

The fifth is an issue for almost every novelist, playwright, or filmmaker.  How do we end the story effectively, without it seeming to be a wrap-up?   To be honest, I have no idea if what I have done will fly.  Of the eight or nine people who have read the script, no one has yet complained.  But that doesn’t say much.  No one has yet complained about any aspect of the script.  (All I ever hear is praise — and that’s not good.)

The next step, after making adjustments while notating the piano-vocal score, is to organize a read-through.   I’ve secured a location for the read-through, which will be in the back room of the One World Cafe.  In the time it will take me to notate the p-v score, I can probably round up the 23 readers I will need to pull this off. 

Realistically, this will take me till the end of the year 2017.   On the other hand, who said anything about being realistic?

Creative Upsurge

There was a huge creative upsurge instigated last night at maybe around ten. At that time, feeling totally creatively dry and dismal, I decided to simply *listen* to my most recent playlist.   As I was listening, my creative juices started flowing again. I started randomly tweaking my “Ode” piece, and at a moment of particular satisfaction decided it was time for bed. I went to bed feeling quite fulfilled, but awoke two hours later, at around ten-thirty, with an unusual hankering to get back at it. So I stayed up till about three-thirty working on “Ode.” Then, finally, I went to bed again (or, more accurately, yoga mat on three layers of cardboard on hard wood floor.) I was up and at it at eight-thirty.

About an hour or so ago, I finished the Ode to my ultimate satisfaction. Then I pasted it to where it’s supposed to fit into my Urban Pathos sequence in show context. (This causes the “Urban Pathos” sequence to now reach 17:37 in duration.) But before I did all that, I had an insight. Also, right when I was done, I had a second, related insight.

The first insight was that, while I often am very concerned with the balance of fitting in my writing music into an overall, broader and more general, positive spiritual picture; I have been less concerned with something that I should be *more* concerned about; and that is, how my writing of music fits into my overall writing as an Artist and a writer. In taking a look at this, I have found that I have been neglecting all my other creative writing because I’ve been writing so much music.

So, I determined to finish this “Ode” and then, since I could tell I was going to finish it early in the day today, I figured I would work on one of my scripts for the rest of the day. Then I decided it would be the Winston Greene script. I’ve just gotta get that thing finished, and out of the way. And then, the second insight came, right after I finished “Ode.”

The second insight, in brief, consists of my now knowing where to proceed from here in that script. I had just reached the state, several months ago, when half of the Kids were going to defect and split off with the charming hustler Howard Trout, whom Winston discerns is actually Benzo Diablo, his nemesis, in disguise. But I didn’t know what to do next, except for that I had to bring in Cynthia Morales, but that I didn’t want to bring her in awkwardly or with too much of a sense of arbitrary contrivance according to convenience unto deus ex machina. But now I know how to bring her in boldly, in a way that will encapsulate the main character conflict between her and the protagonist, in a clear and timely manner that will surely engage the audience.

Ode

“Ode to the Universe” from Eden in Babylon.
Copyright © 2016 by Andrew Michael Pope.

All Rights Reserved.

So – all this stuff has come together for me, all at once. Now I need to run with it.

The Royal Rhapsody

Just a brief check-in to announce that I finished scoring a full draft of my piece, provisionally entitled The Royal Rhapsody. You can hear it on my SoundCloud at the link provided.

As far as my earlier post regarding the completion of my Eden in Babylon script (or the lack thereof) my policy still stands.  I tried twice to adopt the more “professional” approach I alluded to in the previous entry.  Each time, I continued to draw a disturbing blank.  I don’t think the script will be finished until I have the flash of illumination I’ve been praying for.  I need for it to flow as well at its end as it does at its start.  So far everything is headed toward deus ex machina, which of course is to be avoided at all costs.

I do, however, fully believe that this moment of illumination is in my future.  I believe that at that moment, I will proceed to pour out a completed draft of that script straight from my heart.  Because I believe these things, I also believe it would be silly and counter-productive to rush matters.  That moment will come when it’s meant to be.

Hope you like my Rhapsody.

The Royal Rhapsody

“The Royal Rhapsody” from Eden in Babylon.
Copyright © 2016 by Andrew Michael Pope.  All Rights Reserved.