Playwriting

Title Smitle…

This weekend I worked on my other Theatrefolk project (other than the Bully play), a Poe adaptation. This is going to be a BIG project. A multifaceted project. With several lengths and versions, like Circus Olympus. I’m at the very beginning. The first baby steps. My notebook still looks brand new. There’s more thinking than writing.

I did come up with a title though. Titles, along with character names are important in my process. It’s rare that I don’t know what a play is going to be called by the time it’s finished. I like having that anchor, that place holder. A touchstone. Laying claim to the play. The vision of the play branches out from one word or phrase that identifies, stamps, shouts, what I’m trying to explore.¬†Titles can be tricky. They have to act as the spokesperson for the play. A piece can live or die by a good or bad title.

So, I knew I wanted the name Poe in the title. And I knew I didn’t want the title to be cute or funny. No rhyming. No “Oh Poe is me” or…. “The Poe Show” or…… “S0 Poe” or….. “The Woe Slow Toe Poe Show.” When I’m looking for a title, I often list words that might be in the ball park but not exactly right and then find synonyms and antonyms. The right word is always out there to make the right title.

And I found the most awesome word ever. It defines everything the show is going to be, it encapsulates the tone of Poe’s works. It’s perfect. It’s so perfect, I’m actually going to keep it a secret for a little bit. Now that’s bordering on artsy fartsy behaviour that I don’t usually subscribe too, but I think I want this touchstone all to myself for a bit. At least until the play becomes more words and less thinking.

Coming up with a title is a good day’s work. I practically danced around the house. It’s just a couple of words on the page but it can feel like thousands. Now all I have to do is write the play! Oh right, the actual play…..

About the author

Lindsay Price