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.

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