The Past From The Present Moment

Monday, May 25, 2009 Leave a Comment

So, during our discussion after the read through of the latest draft of The Lesser Seductions Of History, Michael Davis (our wonderful George) brought up a really interesting challenge inherent in the play:

Showing past action in the present moment.

The play follows ten characters through each year of the 1960s, and so is episodic in nature. Much of the action of the play takes place between scenes, and what we are shown is the moment of significant conflict and/or change; not necessarily the steps leading up to it.

In other words, each scene is like a high diving board that leads to another jump.

Every play has an element of this, our play more than most. The audience needs to discover what happened between the years through the changed relationships of the characters in the scenes - learning the past through the present moment - so that we see the moment where a souring relationship breaks or heals - but we don't see all the souring.

This will be a challenge to the actors, but for now, it is a challenge for me - to string all these moments together so that what is episodic in nature feels instead like an unbroken chain of desire, conflict and change.

Any thoughts of other plays that solve (or fail to solve) this particular challenge? Any thoughts on how?

I'm hoping to open up the process of this play to y'all who care to read it - hold me to it!