Saturday, September 7, 2013

Getting Crackle into your Writing

As a side-project and writing exercise, I've been trying my hand for about a year (really, since it came out) at writing an operatic treatment of Rukis' amazing novel "Heretic."
Here's the first chapter, to tide you people... I plan to only adapt up to chapter Eight or so... After that, it's a little bit more complicated than makes good theatre.

It's an exploration of the backstory of one of the characters in her webcomic collaboration with Myenia, "Red Lantern."

Luther, an able seaman who bedded his admiral, is incarcerated to preserve the man's honor after his death. His possible salvation - a noble family, the Denholmes, wish for the lover-cum-strategist to inherit a fleet, and legitimize the daughter Delilah's pregnancy.

It's tailor-made for operatic treatment. I can name you, in her story alone, just where the arias and the cabaletti would fall - and orchestral treatments and melodies surge through my head. So many possibilities, but before I complete a musical treatment, I plan to try to discuss this with Rukis, see if she approves. Who knows? And before that, I have a couple of one-act operas I'm trying to write, as practice, and proof to myself that I can handle this.
I don't write often, but I've found that personally, I can't just throw sounds on the page, I need to try to depict an emotional state or a natural feature. Operas are the perfect medium for this. And the world needs one-acts! Stuff you can put on in a storefront theatre with three singers, minimalist sets, and a piano.

I once saw a touring production of "Barbiere Di Siviglia" on a high school stage (saturdays) with two sheets and a table set for a set; a ten-piece orchestra, all the props just laid out between the footlights; a laptop set to the side of the stage playing a photoshop slideshow of the translation. Tell me that's not cool.


And I want to get "Crackle" into the libretto.

A lot of people have it. Arrigo Boito has it, Hunter S. Thompson has it, Walt Kelly, Harvey Kurtzman, Michael Maltese... they all have an instinctive knowledge of where to arrage abstract consonants in obscure words so that the dialogue pops off the reciter's tongue.

Lines like "Would I have the temerity to do THIS (sword) if my bosom chum was encased therin?"

As soon as I type up my libretto notes, I'll look for a good example for you folk.

However, in "Cunning Little Vixen," her monologue in front of the hens. I've rearranged that so as to be her trying to be as gibberishy as possible, to spike the rooster's attention. It's random, incomprehensible phrases of Russian puns, feminist buzzwords, and complete randomness. "Call forth your inner goddess on the brow of the Kulak!"

That's the shit I'm talking about. I'ma look for examples for you folks.
(The next few posts will have pictures, I swear it.)

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