The play's the thing, perhaps. Or maybe music's the thing. Or the beat, the rhythm, the lyrical style... the story, the story line?
The speaker (Brian Doyle) at our local writers' group called us storycatchers. He said the story's the thing. The story's what brings reader and writer to a place without words. And the story chooses its own form--poem, list, memoir, essay, novel... Catch the story when you can. Write it without form or reason (or thought). Then edit or throw away. You can always throw something out, but you can only catch it when it's there.
So the story's the thing, and the play, song, beat, rhythm, style are all subsidiary. Or else they're taking up too much space.
Anyway, there really is a play hid there among the books I read recently. And it's certainly a "thing." Find some coffee. Let's read!
The Gap Of Time by Jeanette Winterson isn't a play, but it's a "cover" for Shakespeare's Winter's Tale. It's a slightly odd read--very British I guess, combining the external observer feel of a play with the very personal characterization of a novel. Sit back with a coffee, enjoy the ride, and you'll be thoroughly hooked by the end, calculating who's who and wishing you remembered how Shakespeare resolved it all. (Hint, it's about forgiveness.) Enjoy with some elegant complex four-star coffee.
Next is another novel with a play-like feel, JR Wirth's In Passing. This one's pure novel, but the scene-changes have a very movie or play-like sense to them. Imagine teen tragic romance combined with the movie It's a Wonderful Life. But the teen's grown up and recalling her near-death experience for a trainee priest who's busy writing his thesis. A slightly paranormal romance hides in the telling of wounded youths, saved from suicide or worse by not-quite-angels. Oddly enthralling once you get past the play-like separation of the start, this is one to enjoy with some dark intense five-star coffee.
Stories of Music Volume 1 by Holly E Tripp is a compelling collection of poetry, artwork, essays, and links to music and speech online. The pieces are beautifully put together, not in forced into boxes in sections but carefully positioned so each one leads to the next, making for a feast of sound and sense, to be enjoyed altogether or separately. I wasn't expecting to love it, but I did. Enjoy with well-balanced, smooth three-star coffee.
Which leads to art as story, I guess, as in The Bestowing Son by Neil Grimmett--a novel that aptly illustrated the storycatcher idea from our writers' meeting. The artist in this novel catches history in paint, creating stories from the scenery of real life. But his own story eludes him, turning things dark, and his muse is ever slightly out of reach. A haunting, slow, beautiful novel, enjoy with some intense five-star coffee.
But I promised a play, so here's my review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne. Imagine volume 7 with all its darkness, combined with the childlike fun of volume 1, and you'll get the picture. The production must be incredible though, if those things described in the play really reach the stage. Enjoy with some fairly lively, easy-drinking two-star coffee--it's not one to spend too long pondering over.
The Harry Potter play has lots of intriguing time-travel, as does the teen novel Not My Life by Bob Kat. Actually, it would be kind of fun to see this series turned into movies or plays. Each novel stands alone perfectly, though it's fun to watch the characters grow, especially since they're very plausible teens, just reaching that does-he-love-me, does-she-love-me stage. There's a jock, a nerd, a cheerleader and the new girl. There's a tramp under the bridge. And there's a travesty of justice waiting to be righted in the past. Enjoy with some well-balanced three-star coffee.
And then decide, is the play the thing, or the story?