We’re drawing inspiration from two great pieces of work this week. Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
Not that we’d need a reason to explain why A Streetcar Named Desire is inspiring but….this clip from the film feels pretty relevant to us as we trawl through the motivations of our main character, as she makes her way from page to stage. Blanche says:
Soft people- soft people' ve got to court the favor of the hard ones, Stella.They've got to shimmer and glow¡ I don't know how much longer I could turn the trick. It isn't enough to be soft. You've got to be soft and attractive. And I- I'm fading now!
We are writing the story of a woman, who like Blanche, has reached an age where spinsterdom beckons, even though she’s still young. Blanche was apparently envisioned by Williams to be in her early thirties (!) Our character, is in her early 40’s in 1950’s Belfast. Not a world apart….
The expectations of what women are expected to be and what they are and aren’t allowed to be, is also very much at the heart of The Handmaid’s Tale – I’m watching the new TV adaptation with great interest – and reading the book to see how they’ve kept the essence of the characters and the story – and importantly how they do- and show – the interior monologue of the main character, Offred. It’s a great show- incredibly grim and often just downright terrifying- both because it feels very close to the bone in terms of what is happening in the world today but also because every single thing that happened in The Handmaid’s Tale has happened in real life to women in some part of the world.
The adaption is also interesting for us as we start to make decisions on how the play will run- do we keep the chronological order, or mix it up? Atwood’s tale lends itself to shifting between past and present in a way that our text might not. And TV can use voiceover in a way that theatre can’t. (Yeah, we could use it but….could we do it well? )
But the really big question is how do we stage the thoughts of our main characters? And is the answer to that – How do we best serve the characters and their stories? ….
Answers on a postcard please. I’ll just be over here, scratching my head. 🙂