Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Reading of Second Act of 'Prequel to Hamlet' Opens to Critical Semi-Acclaim in San Francisco

The reading and the comments afterwards:
I have seen friendlier lynch mobs. There were about twenty comments, all of them harshly negative. A lot of the comment was stupid or irrelevant. One of the actors dwelt at length on the fact that I have a cutesy comment about ebony and ivory and he objected strongly on the basis that the piano was not invented until well after Shakespeare's time. The same guy also objected at length to my stage instruction that when the musicians are tuning their instruments they should play the first few bars of Beethoven's 9th which opens with what sounds like the musicians tuning up. He lectured me on how Beethoven lived hundreds of years after Shakespeare. A man with an enormous beard pointed out that it was not as good as Shakespeare. At this I laughed aloud and the others were forced to laugh also. Unabashed the same guy who had complained about the piano and Beethoven claimed that every word in Shakespeare had a purpose and mine did not. I dutifully wrote all of this down as though I gave a shit. One thing I noticed was that I did not get the tepid response the other two readings got. Everyone hated it. That alone is worth something.

However the first comment had been that it was too wordy. I thought it was too, and asked who else thought it was too wordy. Everyone raised their hands. I asked how many thought it was WAY too wordy. They all raised their hands again. This I take to be relevant criticism. I am going to have it read again tomorrow at Berkeley Play Cafe. I mean to cut it to about a third or half of its current length by then. Nay - abridged.


  1. Trashman11:35 AM

    Then again, this blog is wordy. All books are wordy. Even short sentences are wordy if you don't like words. But you might try this to make it "less" wordy."

    Howabout removing every third word. Here is how it would work. Take the following sentence:

    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

    By taking out every third word you get:

    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

    Thirty-three percent less wordy and it still retains the same meaning. Incredible.

  2. That is pretty much what I did. You will notice that pretty much all of the meaning of the first is still contained in the second.

  3. I'm sorry to hear that the "open mike" approach to plays is not a supportive one in SF. I would have expected otherwise, but then, I guess you've discovered their agenda. So much easier to be a critic than a playwright.

    How did the Berkeley reading go?

    I wonder if it would be useful to send it to a real agent, and see what the agent has to say about your style/content?