25 September 2009

There Will Be Blood

BRICK The Play is unusually violent for a stageplay (well, not counting Shakespeare's tragedies).

There was a performance in the SC/USA production when an apparently mentally ill audience member slipped into retching convulsions each time a stage punch landed. And despite our stage managers' most humane efforts to relocate this woman to the lobby, she and her family felt it best to endure.

Thanks alot, Rian. Nice story.

Be fair-warned future audience members, NSW/AUS fight choreographer ("Boots") is readying a rip-roarin' smack-down for all y'all. No word yet on the use of stage blood (there was quite a bit of the old red stuff in the SC/USA version).

Weak-kneed audience members should stay away at all costs.

20 September 2009

Playwright In Residence

I am thrilled to report that I will be attending the second week of performances for BRICK The Play Down Under.

Thanks to many Fundable supporters and a ridiculously generous gift from Ildi Revi of Leopard Forest Coffee, I have a plane ticket booked that will put me in Sydney the morning of October 20 and bring me back to the US on the 29th.

So...THANK YOU supporters! And thank you Ildi. And I CAN'T WAIT to meet the cast and crew of BRICK The Play at Macquarie University.
What an amazing opportunity!

06 September 2009

No cobblers needed for this play.

Those who saw the play last spring in South Carolina, will find a more streamlined script for the New South Wales production.

I've tried to build on what worked in the first full production, and improve things for the second.

A lot of old films—especially film noirs—devote time to following the detective as he moves from place to place...car to office, seedy hotel to underworld hideout. This is often referred to as "shoe leather." A whole lot of walking, without much actually happening.

These transitions are actually an essential element of the film noir genre. And Rian Johnson pays homage to that tradition in BRICK...primarily using such passages to build tension. (And on one ocassion—the Lug fight—he plays it to the its ultimate, ironic conclusion.)

On stage (and in most modern cinema) too much shoe leather is narrative death. It kills momentum and flow.

So in the play, ALL between-scene action has been cut away...even Brendan's phone booth scenes are reduced to audio only in the most recent draft.

When Brendan asks Brain for Em's locker number, we never see him go to her locker and find the red party invitation. When he pulls it out, we assume he went there to find it.

And much of the building tension at the end that begins with Tug killing Dode and ends with the shots fired in The Pin's lair, is built by plot points just flying by...pausing only long enough to remind us who is a good guy and who is a bad guy.

Rian's BRICK screenplay is lean. But BRICK The Play feels even tighter in some spots. Keeping things moving in the live environment is essential to the audience feeling the building dread.

04 September 2009

Girl Brain? A Controversial Choice!

One thing that's different from the film, is that in BRICK The Play, Brain...is a girl.

And though it is a choice that was first made of necessity (not enough dudes in the acting company), it has become one that Rian Johnson himself has expressed fondness for—particularly Reid Cox's performance in the initial production.

The latest production of BRICK The Play at Macquarie University in Sydney will again feature a female Brain (Bella Woolley, left).

The ensuing sexual tension between Brendan and his Brain, adds a really nice, noir-inspired flavor to the brew. And fans who see the stage version will find a tidy plot twist at the very end.

As Rian might say, "a controversial choice." But it's one live audiences seem to like a great deal.