I need to rewrite. I want to rewrite. I will rewrite.

My comedy, A Dog’s Life, has been sitting in soft copy inside my Mac for several years, now.  Lately, it’s been calling me, over and over, bleating, “Rework me.” I can no longer ignore it.

I’m going to rewrite. Now.

I’ll start with Act One, Scene Two. I remember where the scene suddenly sagged and I can fix that. Here I go. I turn on the computer. I will not look at my email. Just a quick look at YouTube on the way to the file. Huh! Isn’t that astounding? All of Alice’s Restaurant is on YouTube. And Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger sing Precious Friend together. I’m crazy about that song. I wonder when the concert was? Well, I won’t look for it, now. I’ll just listen to Alice’s Restaurant and then plunge in. Though I should vacuum first. I’ve been putting that off. No, stop! I’ll just take the vacuum out of the closet and reward myself with a quick carpet clean after I’ve spent at least an hour on Act One, Scene Two. Best to get out of YouTube, now. Right? Who knew that Arlo Guthrie was still touring after so many years? And with his whole family! OK. To the file.

I should probably read the whole play through to see if the structure is more or less sound, see what kind of overall impression it leaves before I start cutting and reshaping. But, my God, look at the mess beside the computer. Why don’t I clear everything away first, so I can think clearly.

Oho. What’s King Lear doing here? I was reading it last night, well, I was reading it at work, if truth be told, and brought it home. Where was I? End of Act Three? I’ll just check. Is it a good play or what? Those disgusting sisters and that gory business with the eyes. Gross. It really is hard to put down and the thing is, I’ve never seen it or read it before. I saw The Dresser. Who wrote that? Ronald….I’ll look it up…Ronald Harwood…so I knew that the actor who plays Lear has to have a lot of stamina and a voice that can be heard over the wind machine. Where is that in the play? Here it is, “Blow winds and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!” Great stuff. I should probably read a little more to warm up the brain. The Fool is the smartest one of them all, of course. Love him.  Wow! By the end of Act Five, there are bodies all over the place – Oswald’s dead, and Cornwall, Goneril, Regan, Cordelia, Edmund, Lear himself.

Huh! Do you know? I don’t know what happened to the Fool. Did he die, too? Let me look.

OMG, he disappears after Act III, Scene VI. Kent says to him “Thou must not stay behind.” And then he’s gone from the play. I mean, gone! I’d better take a second and google Fool, King Lear. Good thing the computer is still on.

Aha. Here’s what Schmoop says:

“The Fool disappears after Act 3, Scene 6, and nobody ever explains where he’s gone. The only possible reference to the Fool after that is in the final scene, when King Lear says “And my poor fool is hanged” (5.3.17). This could mean a couple of things: 1) Lear might be referring to Cordelia with a pet name, “fool,” since Cordelia has just been hanged by Edmund’s goons. 2) Lear could be literally talking about his Fool – perhaps the Fool was also hanged by Edmund’s henchmen or, perhaps he hung himself out of despair. It’s hard to say what really happens to the Fool. Some literary critics even speculate that the Fool and Cordelia were played by the same actor. They never appear onstage together, so some scholars hypothesized that the part was double cast, and that the Fool had to disappear when Cordelia came back into the play.”

That’s what Schmoop says. But you know what? I think that maybe, just maybe, Shakespeare didn’t do a rewrite!!!!

I hit the spacebar, the file comes up. A Dog’s Life. I begin.

3 thoughts on “Rewrite

  1. Funny… I am supposed to be working but thought I’d just read the first line and come back later… No such luck. Thanks for the laugh.

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