I'll never be a theatre critic but I like to think about the plays I go to and to do a little analysis and thinking while it's fresh in my mind. So:
A Delicate Balance (1966; Pulitzer Prize 1967 by Edward Albee, coming up! I'm going to talk to the director before I write....
I did. As a playwright I am very interested in who contributes what to a play. As you may know. when writers sell a screenplay to a producer, they give up all rights to it, unless they have a special arrangement. If they're lucky and get hired for the next draft, that is a separate contract, no guarantees that it will be produced. As a member of the Dramatists' Guild of Canada, I have been asked twice to arbitrate on the ownership/credits of a screenplay, that is, whose name goes on the opening/closing credits. This is a mandatory service, although allowances will be made for other commitments and inconvenience. In each case, I was given a total of about 15 drafts by two different writers. Same story in each draft but different scripts. You have to read them all and decide which one is the most consistent, best presentation. I remember reading that so many writers were involved in the writing of Tootsie, that it took a while to decide who got the credit. In the end, I think it was Murray Schisgal.
It's tricky sometimes, figuring out who wrote what or who planned a specific detail. I notice details and I love to talk to the director or actors to find out who did what. There's a famous example, the question of who wrote a telling piece of action in the movie, Bullit (Steve McQueen). His character is in a cell, bouncing a ball from floor-to-wall and back to his hand, again and again. Was it an action conceived of by the actor (actors love to do things), by the director, to give him something to do, or by the writer - to indicate thinking and nerves? No one guessed the writer but that's who thought of it.
I lkie to look at things and notice details and figure out who thought of what. It's fun as i say, to talk to the director about it. In the case of A Delicate Balance, I also re-read the play after I saw it last week. My old copy cost about $2.95, that's how old it is! What I didn't remember was how detailed Albee was in his actors' directions, giving readings in almost every line. The actors are free to make their own decisions, I was told, but only after they have seriously considered Albee's suggestions. Screenwriters are not encouraged to do that. Such suggestions are called "wrylies". Thus:
Dick says his line - (wryly) - he is instructed. Cut wryly. Albee would have hated that.
Well, I had other questions but some of them would have been spoilers and I had waited too long to write this blog. t's actually February 4 as I write this and I have miles to write before I sleep (other than a blog).
Tomorrow is another day, whatever the date.