1. j newman

    j newman New Member

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    Can I borrow your brain for thirty seconds?

    Discussion in 'By Writing Form' started by j newman, Aug 31, 2018.

    Hi there, I'm finishing up the script of a play which is to be performed in a few weeks, but there are two moments that I have not solved. If you're a quick lateral thinker, you might have an immediate fix, for which I will be forever grateful!

    1. Which repetitive, rhythmic action (by a character trapped in a room with no objects) suggests frustration, resignation and also metaphorically hints at perception? For example - bounding a ball at a wall over and over again gets the first two but not the latter. When I say perception I mean it could be something as literal as my character looking at something from many angles.

    2. How can two mimes suggest the beauty of the universe, the nature of the universe, or the mechanics of the universe, through a pose or moving gesture? A character asks them something to the effect of "What is the true nature of the universe?", and they need to demonstrate it in a way that clicks with an audience. It's OK if it's funny or hammy but it doesn't need to be.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. nycoma

    nycoma Active Member

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    1. flitting your eyes back and forth

    2. a simple hug

    i don't know. i wrote this with a piece of pizza in one hand, so take it lightly.
     
  3. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    Following thread to hear answers.

    Flowers entwining in the darkness.
     
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  4. j newman

    j newman New Member

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    The hug idea is actually perfect. I'll have the mimes gesture all around them (as if to signify the universe / everything), then hug (to suggest harmonious union). I really like that!

    Your idea for the first scene is also good, but I'm hoping for something a bit more physical - something with some frustrated energy that's hard to watch. It's to build up tension in the first scene, when someone is realising they're trapped. It's not until after this repetitive gesture that another character will appear to ease the tension. Thanks!
     
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  5. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    I really like the hug idea for the mime! As for frustration, resignation, but also perception--is it really important that the room be empty? I would have suggested staring at a clock very, very intently.
     
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  6. Ruyi

    Ruyi New Member

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    From the top of my head:

    Maybe staring at the door/doorknob hoping it will open? Trying to open the door every hour or so? Staring at the little gap of the door at the bottom looking for shadows of people walking by or coming closer outside?

    Lying down to sleep and getting up a couple of seconds later? Changing positions in the room every minute?

    Maybe a google search for "displacement activities" could be inspiring?
     
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  7. SethLoki

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    I'd suggest the ball bouncing, if one object allowed, but have it with say every fourth throw being really forceful to indicate the frustration.

    No objects at all allowed, hmm...poss. have actor rock head/wrist tap to some imaginary song. That song's chorus is an angry one and you see him/her get animated (angered/frustrated) as it comes around.
     
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  8. Linz

    Linz Active Member

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    Character taps their fingers against their thigh whilst staring at the door, then moves over to it to try the handle? Frowning?
     
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  9. j newman

    j newman New Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions! I really like the lying down and getting up; watching the door and underneath the door; and aggressive, musical ball-bouncing. I'm working within pretty tight constrictions - so far the only prop allowed inside the room is a chair. Also, the room is doorless. The main character accidentally trapped herself by building from the inside, forgetting to create an exit. Keep 'em coming, good stuff!
     
  10. Ruyi

    Ruyi New Member

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    :rofl::rofl::rofl:

    Then maybe knocking at the walls hoping to find a loose brick or whatever to tear down the wall again? The knocking could be rhythmic melodies, more intense when getting more frustrated (this would be close to the ball-bouncing but without the ball).
     
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  11. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    Nothing in the room? Hmm... rythmic marching or pacing, and an 'off noise' on a step, at interval, then a knock from 'nowhere' causes our subject to walk across that 'one place' with the loose board.
    foot goes through, leg goes through, whole guy disappears, or hand comes up and pulls em through. the one place ya never look, the unexpected. make it funny, scary. or just pass up a magazine - that's all he wanted was something to read!
     
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  12. nycoma

    nycoma Active Member

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    thanks. you can use it if you want.

    maybe for your first one: you could have the character come up to a wall and put their ear up to it, and shift their ear around in a bunch of random places. then have them pace back to the opposite wall and do the same thing, in a frantic kind of manner.
     
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  13. j newman

    j newman New Member

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    The rhythmic tapping idea is excellent - but the walls are implied (and therefore imagined by the audience), which will make it hard to get well timed sounds short of perfectly executed sound effects. But I like the idea a lot.

    @nyko kana : thanks, we'll use it then! The ear to the wall is also a very compelling image. I'll get the actors to try that too. I can see that working, I'll try adjusting the scene to see if it fits.
     
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  14. Ruyi

    Ruyi New Member

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    Why not let the actor make the sounds then? They tap around in the air with their fist and hum the melody or something?
     
  15. nycoma

    nycoma Active Member

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    glad i could help good sir
     
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  16. pyroglyphian

    pyroglyphian Active Member

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    It's the pattern on the back of a butterfly's wings.

    One flew in my mouth once. Very bitter. I opened, he exited and flew to the nearest branch to take stock of the occasion and (I think) review formerly held beliefs. Neither of us were the same after that.
     
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  17. j newman

    j newman New Member

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    One of the funniest things I have read for a long time. You just made my girlfriend cackle when i read it out.
     
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  18. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I was going to suggest writing, but one single repeated phrase, over and over again with the writing becoming less and less legible, ever wilder to convey the frustration and changes in idea. I wonder if you could project a thought into the background to show the audience a single, repeated thought? Maybe in time with some kind of flash lighting or rhythmic music, drum beat etc?

    Punching the wall or hitting the floor repeatedly?

    It might help if you indicated what the character was meant to "perceive" in the first place? What is this thing she's supposed to look at from multiple angles?

    Or quite simply, crying. A single tear at first, and then full-on sobbing, and then burying her face into her hands. Perhaps accompanied by a constant shake of her head, while still hiding her face. The shaking of her head can become more and more frantic as the frustration builds up, which can also indicate a deepening of her own understanding of the issues of your play.
     
  19. j newman

    j newman New Member

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    Thanks!

    As this play progresses, we learn that the protagonist is trying to know the universe as it actually it is, and to glimpse infinity. At the end of the play, she faces the paradox that she can never truly experience reality (because our senses distort reality, and therefore our perception). Maybe it's too tricky to wrap that all up neatly into a visual metaphor in the first scene.

    If she repeats a compelling gesture that is hinting in that direction of perception it will have a nice resonance. Something to prepare the audience subconsciously for where the play is going. Let me know if you have any thoughts! I feel like every writer should have a brains trust, this has been so helpful!
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
  20. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If it's a first scene, then I assume it's in the beginning? Is there another gesture that's already in the play that you know you'll use near the end? It would be great to have the same gesture both at the start and at the end, only the same gesture will have taken on a new meaning by the end :)

    Infinity. How about the gesture of rocking a baby? And then maybe the character realises there's no baby at all and goes back to pacing/rocking herself back and forth while hugging herself, or shaking her head.

    Rubbing her eyes and blinking, as if she can't see clearly?
     
  21. j newman

    j newman New Member

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    Finished the script, thanks so much for all your help!
     

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