Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Seafarer, or, How To Write A So-Called "Play" For Broadway

Step 1. Take a ten-minute ghost story.

Step 2. People it with a Main Character who sits there and takes everyone's crap for two hours, his incredibly annoying older brother, two slightly-less-annoying inconsequential friends, and Lucifer.

Step 3. Have the Main Character, his brother and one friend talk for 45 minutes about anything at all. This is what passes on the modern stage for "drama".

Step 4. Bring Lucifer onstage at the 45-minute mark.

Step 5. Figure out an awkward way to get everyone offstage for ten minutes so Lucifer can reveal himself to Main Character.

Step 6. Have Lucifer reveal himself to Main Character. Because audiences are really stupid, make Lucifer cause the onstage lights to flicker and have him give Main Character stomach cramps.

Step 7. Do not--repeat--DO NOT--have Main Character stand up to Lucifer. This would cause dramatic conflict.

Step 8. At end of Act One, set up a poker game for Main Character's soul in Act Two.

Step 9: At beginning of Act Two, repeat Step 3, with the addition of Lucifer and second inconsequential friend.

Step 10. Have Lucifer not like music. This is what passes on the modern stage for "depth of character."

Step 11. Repeat Step 5.

Step 12. Have Lucifer deliver a pedestrian monologue about Hell to Main Character. This is what passes on the modern stage for "a stunning tour de force."

Step 13. Make sure ending is an act of God.

Step 14. Cast great actors because otherwise people will fall asleep.

Step 15. Wait for standing ovation at end as audience applauds their own recognition that the play is just deep enough for their shallow idea of drama.

Step 16. Wait for glowing reviews from critics using words like "dazzling," "enthralling," and "intelligent," all of which are character revelations about their authors.

Step 17. Close March 30th.

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