ENDINGS AND BEGINNINGS
by Park Theatre
This week I've been rewriting the very very end of my first play. As the reality of a production edges into view, suddenly the ending acquires added significance, as if it 'says' something very general about the subject of the play. With very few significant exceptions, I'm not a great fan of literature with an overt message to push. The best stories examine the truth, ask questions, provoke thought and debate; they don't necessarily make a grand statement. This is particularly true of drama, in which there is (usually) no narrative voice.
Yet 'messages' are often forced onto works of literature in interpretation - and in production. I don't remember many lectures from my university days, but one which has stayed with me (in a sketchy way) dealt with the concept of 'closing an open script', with reference to Shakespeare on stage. What were Shakespeare's own views with regard to the characters he created, the themes he explored? Can anyone claim to know? Yet in production, his plays are often used as vehicles for all kinds of contradictory agendas, and the endings manipulated to convey a particular point of view to the audience.
So, what I think of as an 'open' ending may not in fact be one, and there's an element of that which is way beyond my control. I can't let concerns about misinterpretation of my 'agenda' interfere with the truth of my story or my characters. Yet there are certainly views which I would be horrified to endorse, so I have to tread carefully .... but not too carefully. And so it goes on.
As I grapple with all this, I'm also beginning research for my next play. It's a subject that scares me a bit - so that's good. And Park Theatre itself is, of course, full of beginnings. This week: a new fundraising initiative, new friends, brand new steels for Park 90. And the beginning of summer!
Oh wait. Ah. Maybe next week.
[Photo by striatic]