Monday, June 03, 2013

Another NYCP video

This is actually the last of the five we recorded back in early April and I am incredibly relieved to be done with them. This is one of the better ten-minute plays we did, although that doesn't mean it's perfect. It's very frustrating really because the writer has a very good premise - real dramatic potential and it's about something of consequence -  the systematic rape of Bosnian women by Serbs during the Bosnian War 20 years ago.

Unfortunately the playwright didn't really make it work. The fact that the entire middle section is one character giving the other character directions is a problem.

And she doesn't even give good directions. The assassin character is going from 86th and Lex to the northern end of Times Square, on 48th Street and the Marie character, who claims to be in the US for ten years tells her to take the 6 train instead of the 4-5 express, and she tells her to go to Grand Central Station and then take the L shuttle to Times Square.

Now usually this would be a viable option, but Marie makes a big deal about what a crazy place Times Square is. So if the assassin was going to take the 6 train instead of the express she could get off at 51st and Lex and then just walk to 48th and Seventh Avenue - it's like a ten minute walk and she could avoid most of Times Square, with its legendary Bolivian panpipe music and break dancers.

Normally I wouldn't have bothered to analyze the changes needed for another playwright's ten-minute play, but since I had to video-record and then edit this thing - and I had 4 different camera angles to deal with - I got to know the play pretty well and so couldn't help but notice some of these glaring inadequacies. Once again this is a case where the writer should go back and tighten the play.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, the Marie character mentions all these little irrelevant things about Times Square including two that are now obsolete - she mentions Dick Clark and the fact that there used to be hookers in Times Square and now it's home to a big Disney store. That's old old news and I can't imagine why this woman from Bosnia who has only been in the US for 10 years would consider that at all an interesting item and especially something worth talking about to an assassin. Now if she had grown to love New York maybe you could accept that she likes to repeat the standard complaints of New Yorkers but at the end of the play she reveals that she doesn't even consider it her home and as soon as the rapist is killed she's heading back to Bosnia. So all that Times Square stuff was pointless - except as time-killing filler to get from the assassin showing up to us being told about the goal of her mission.

And then there was the fact that she waits until the middle of the play to show Sophia the gun when she could racheted up the drama from the beginning of the play by pulling the gun out then.

And one more thing - the effort the Marie character puts into making Sophia look like an American girl is utterly pointless. During the play it's established that Sophia is only there for less than one day, nobody knows she's there, and when she finally meets her target her entire interaction will consist of her saying "Greetings for Sarajevo" and then shooting him in the head. This pointlessness was especially annoying to me because I did not have a Yankees cap and had to use a NYPD cap instead - and then I did my best to ensure that the hat couldn't be read by tweaking the video during editing.

And then there was the thing about American girls wearing a different kind of lipstick than Bosnian girls. This was complete news to me and not only that, the author doesn't even explain HOW their lipstick is different.


So the next NYCPlaywrights project is monologues, which are harder to screw up than a ten-minute play. We'll be doing readings/reviews of the semi-finalists this week and picking four - and I have the whole summer to video-record them.

So there will be plenty of time to finally finish Atlas Shrugged!