Just went to a play reading last night at Geva’s Next Stage. It’s part of a program, Hornet’s Nest and New Works and another program, Plays in Progress, in which Geva brings unpublished theater works to the public for its reactions and feedback.
Last night’s production was “Brilliant Corners,” written beautifully by Andrew Rosendorf. The play had only four characters, played/read by actors Daryll Heysham, Sebastian Beacon, Davida Bloom, and Reyna de Courcy.
The story line was about a dysfunctional family and how each of their lives played out automatically in a hari kari nosedive despite each member’s concerns and futile attempts to avoid disaster. Well, the mother avoided even avoiding.
But the intriguing part for me was the author’s concept of having photo snapshots projected (on a screen, I assume) to transition the story, to fill in the action, or to fast forward the plot. Of course, we didn’t see that last night, because this was just a reading. But the narrator described the photos and how the white borders would drift in and overtake the image or the black in the photo would take over. Or the images would just flash and disappear.
For me, it was a brilliant tack of writing. I’m sure it’s been done before, but, even as the actors stood or sat reading their lines and the narrator described the action, I could see those photographs, those snapshots in time. It’s the perfect show vs tell example.
So, not only did I have a very enjoyable evening, seeing a memorable play with outstanding actors reading the dialogue, I received reinforcement in the usefulness, actually in the power, of show vs tell in my writing.
That leaves me with only one thing to do: go back to my keyboard.