by E.h. Bennett

I wrote a monologue in August. Too blocked to finish it, I sought out the song of the sea. Not finding my answer there, my next stop was a musical followed by sushi. After which I entered a zone and battered out a fix. Go figure.

The monologue grew into two and the twelve pages were beautifully interpreted at my local college in November.

However, in the end (to date) I’ve written a 52-page “mini epic poem,” “spoken word,” “complete and profound,” ultimately, “difficult to read” play (?) with all its intentional lack of description, formatting, punctuation, and Blank Space on the page.

What to do. What to do. What to do now???

My conundrum is this: I’ve experienced interpreters who are directed to cross out stage directions and (beat) and (pause) and they do not even take the opportunity to experiment with the playwright’s intentional time and space. And this perplexes me. Maybe I’m overreacting in the other direction?

Yet as I’ve discovered, there’s a whole literature devoted to the art of the Pause or as Suzan-Lori Parks has coined them “spells.”



1 thought on “TIME AND SPACE

  1. Love this article. So do or don’t write your own elements of style. I did find that after a few searching for the next words on the page, I figured it had to be on purpose or really bad formatting gremlin — I chose the on purpose because of your craft as a writer and the effects of the pauses/spells/let-that-soak-in-a-minute worked extremely well from there on. Yours were forced pauses so your intent took place while searching for the continuation of words. If all you put, somewhere in the author’s note or at rise description or where eve, is “these spaces are intentional” it would cut out the formatting problem thought.

    I like reading the playwright notes about how the play is intended to be read/played, etc. Persons who cross out stage directions before reading them are rude and disrespectful to the work.

    Love Suzan-Lori’s notes a lesson in “this pause is intentional – take it” among other things.

    Author Notes from BODY INDIAN — 6. There should be a loud, rushing sound of a train starting off on a journey to signal to the audience that the play is beginning and Bobby’s entrance can be emphasized by the distant sound of the train.” Hanay Geiogamah

    If sound or space is a character in your play, where do you write its action? In the description and pauses unless you find another way to get around the rude and disrespectful un- interpretation of ones play.

    Have at it lady, make a new thing, we’ll role with you…

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