19 November 2010

Another Successful Run of BRICK The Play

Great conversation yesterday afternoon with Leslie Price, Artistic Director at the Children's Theatre of Western Springs (IL) and Emily Monteagudo, Director of their recent production of BRICK The Play.

The newly revised version seems to work (starting at the end, retold in flashbacks), though plot clarity is still an issue...as it is in the film.

Apparently, the high school reparatory company at CTWS loved working on BRICK The Play. (Many of the cast members have become fans of 1940's-era film noir...and that, of course, is a really good thing.)

If you saw the production (or were in the production), I'd love to hear your feedback. ALL comments are welcome!

06 November 2010

Chicagoland Premier

BRICK The Play has opened in Western Springs, IL!

I can't wait to see it!

12 April 2010

A Scholarly Connection

Professor E. Bert Wallace of Campbell University recently presented a paper on BRICK The Play at the 2010 Southeastern Theatre Conference's (SETC) Theatre Symposium at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.

The symposium's theme was "Theatre and Film" this year. In his research, Bert found few credible examples of films turned into straight plays...but a definite appetite among play-makers for non-musical stage adaptations.

Here's hoping Bert's paper is picked up for publication in the annual journal which is published by the University of Alabama Press.

11 March 2010

Another midwestern production of BRICK The Play?

Nothing is official yet, but signs of a Lincoln, Nebraska production of BRICK The Play look promising.

These guys and some IB theatre students at Lincoln High School (and their teacher) are interested in helping bring the play to town in August!

25 February 2010

Notes from Brendan #1...er, 2 (after JGL, of course).


I just finished BRICK The Play 3.0. Great work. Really, seriously awesome. You've streamlined it in the best possible ways.

The flashback style between the field confrontation and the narrative works great. It breaks up the lengthy exposition of that scene in a way that makes the audience relish those moments for the clues they provide, rather than filling them with a desire to pause and rewind it Tivo style so they can keep up with all the reveals. It keeps them reminded of the end game, and curious as to how it will play out.

The decision to reveal Laura as the bad guy from the outset caught me off guard, and at first I wasn't sure about it. But you made it work with the scene at the end of the first act. You got us to a point where we could trust Laura again. You exchanged the tension of MS2009's BRICK The Play—not knowing who it was (a tension that was hard to maintain with the myriad twists in the investigation)—with the better tension of wanting her to be good, wanting to trust her, but not being sure if you can. This is Brendan's conflict, and making the audience feel this same tension is friggin awesome. In the previous version this tension only really reached a head in the last confrontation scene, but now, its much more prevalent through the whole play. Now, the shock at finding out how wrong Brendan was about her is stronger because you've started her out as being untrustworthy and by the time of the last scene we've come full circle from the beginning and are once again wanting to believe her, to trust her, to see her and Brendan happy together. This makes her final moments- the baby, the "mother-f***er" line, all of it, that much more powerful.

The streamlining and combining of the kitchen scene works much better and flows in a much more natural and logical way that makes Brendan and the Pin's dealings seem vastly more engaging, instead of a series of pauses between kernels of moments. It also makes Brendan seem much stronger, like he actually is smart enough to be a player on the Pin's level. He still is in over his head, but the idea that the Pin would ever take him seriously is much easier to believe now.

I think my favorite change though, is the new Brain/Kara confrontation. This new rewrite puts Brain in a far more active roll, and capitalizes on the girl Brain (still your best idea ever I think). This Brain is no longer a sidekick, but a player in the story, and sees herself as that. Kara's evilness is way better exposed when she's sexy towards Brendan all the time, and and evil devil-bitch to another girl. Her tactics changing make her more powerful, and Brain more lovable. The last moment's are way more awesome because of this.

The bleacher setup. Great idea. keeps the "high school" aura. It's unobtrusive, but provides a great solution for characters stepping in and out of Brendan's reality.

So yeah. This whole thing is gold. better than ever. I miss BRICK The Play and envy greatly whoever your next Brendan will be. keep me updated on how Brick-Chicago progresses. I want to know when it is, cause if possible I'd want to road trip it up there for the opening. That's how enthused I am by reading this.

22 February 2010

BRICK The Play 3.0

I just completed a newly revised version of BRICK The Play that I hope will become definitive.

This new version is shorter that the MS2009 production, but longer than the DRAMAC edition. I've permanently cut the Lug Chase (one of the film's most satisfying cinematic moments, but nearly impossible to replicate on stage) and discovered a brand new scene where Brain confronts Kara backstage.

One big change is structural in nature, as Brendan's final confrontation with Laura on the football field starts the play. And we return to this point twice more in Act I and three times in Act 2.

I decided to use this flashback device as both a way to clarify plot points and to emphasize what I feel is the main conflict in the story: will Brendan trust Laura.

Quite often it is the noir protagonist's chief struggle: will he believe the girl he knows he shouldn't? For BRICK, I think it's central. Nothing in the story matters as much as Brendan discovering who put Emily "in front of the gun." That's the mystery he's unraveling, it's what compels him forward and drives all the action.

By making his final confrontation with Laura the skeleton we hang the story on, we ask our audience to struggle with Brendan. Will we trust her?

The other big change is one rooted in the play's growing theatricality. I've always talked about how Rian's film is joyfully cinematic...at times even playful in its cinementality.

As such, I believe the play should be just as joyful, theatrically. As fun a play, as BRICK is a movie.

From the start, I've set the play in a kind of "limbo," or non-specific place that becomes all the locations in the film with lighting and a few small set pieces. But now, I've enhanced that theatricality by placing nearly every character on the stage for the entire show, watching from several rows of bleachers that line the upstage wall.

This means fewer blackouts for scene changes (the MS2009 production had a blackout and scene change every three minutes or so), while also creating a visual "line-up" of sorts for the audience. As the story unfolds, the audience may now look at the various suspects and think about their role in the mystery.

I think this is an exciting update to the play that truly makes it a piece of theatre, as opposed to a cinema adaptation.

Want to check out the new version of the script? Drop me a line, and I'll send you the PDF file. I'd love to hear your feedback!

24 January 2010

BRICK in Chicago

Still lots of details to work through, but I'm hopeful following a terrific meeting with Leslie Price of The Theatre of Western Springs.

Looks like early November 2010 for BRICK The Play in Chicago.