Thursday, July 11, 2013

Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812

Right .... this is what I love about the freelance life! I get to go to the theater in the middle of the day, with a good friend/theater collaborator, drink a shot of grapefruit-infused whiskey, watch a rather good show that has a spectacular final 15 minutes that completely inspired me to think about structure, go out onto the Highline, sit in the sun and brainstorm theater collaborations we want to create together, run into two good friends while sitting in the sun, move to the shade, brainstorm some more, run into my friends again, and go home to watch the movie of one of the projects we pitched.

So ... those last 15 minutes.  Did you read the piece on Structure by John McPhee in the New Yorker some months ago? In it, he says he had a teacher when he was young who made them do a structural outline of every single thing they wrote for her—a habit that has stayed with him throughout his writing career. He doesn't always do a traditional outline, and in fact his outlines are sometimes whimsical and graphic. By the time Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 ended, I could see the structure clearly. It was a tangled web of relationships and chatter and banal interpersonal interests, swirling swirling swirling all around a man who is focused elsewhere, but where? we (and perhaps he) are not sure, but then in the last 15 minutes it becomes incredibly clear, and first we see him with one other person, and then alone in the universe, focused on one point of light.

I picture it like this:

What a joy to leave the theater with this graphic image, and then go out to discuss new works. What a joy.

No comments:

Post a Comment