Playwriting

It’s far from heroic to shoot an exhausted cow

30 Days of Development: Lindsay is writing every day for thirty days, and submitting every day for thirty days, and blogging about it every day for thirty days. Whew! Can she do it? Stay posted….

DAY TWENTY-ONE

Writing: Snippets here and there as we played St. Louis tourists today. Writing in the car on our way around town I re-worked the opening of the second act. Maybe this will work, it feels like it could be ok. We’ll see when it’s typed up.

Thoughts: All rules are meant to be broken, all experiences can be turned on their ear, theatre can be enjoyed, enjoyable, filled to the brim with joy. See? I DO like theatre!

Last night we saw Hal Holbrook perform Mark Twain Tonight! It was fantastic.

Hal Holbrook has been performing this show since 1954. The show is comprised of various excerpts from Twain’s writing. The selections he performs are never the same from performance to performance. He’s 83 and he never does the same show twice.

My major complaint about Frost/Nixon was the amount of unnecessary talking. How is it one man, with no pretty set, alone, talking for two hours does not elicit the same response?

Universality, warmth, sharp wit, vivacity, chilling reality.

This is what Mark Twain brings to the table. His views on politics, politicians, religion, Christians and their collective views on Money and humanity. It’s startling how something written in the baby years of the last century make you gasp with recognition. The timely relevance breaks your heart. And Twain has perfected the one two punch: one makes you laugh, two brings you to your knees. Fantastic.

Hal Holbrook brings an ability to share a story. He’s not talking at me, telling me something mundane. He is dressing a world with words. That’s the difference. Warmth and wit flow out of him and surround us all.

Did I mention he’s 83? And yes there’s clearly no blocking, he just moves where and when he wants. And yes he has to go back to the lectern quite often to check his notes. And yes, 30 years ago he didn’t need a lectern. So what? It’s all in tone, in style and with such ease – my god he is effortless. So crisp, so alive, so joyful. I went to see David Copperfield this year and he was awful. Great tricks, but he wasn’t just phoning it in. He was back home in LA sending up smoke signals.

Mr. Holbrook’s performance could have been the same and we would have forgiven him. He’s 83! But it wasn’t. And he got stronger as the show went on. And it almost seemed at the end that he didn’t want to go.

And does he know how to pause or does he know how to pause? And we waited in drop dead silence. The man is a master of the pause.

Submission: Ten minute play Bottle Baby to Play With Your Food – a great name for a lunchtime play series!

About the author

Lindsay Price