Monday, July 26, 2010

thoughts: Rimers of Eldritch - set-up, setting, and plot.

I have to get all of these thoughts out anyways, so why not blog it?
Here's the jist: 'Rimers of Eldritch' is a play by Lanford Wilson. Barry had me read it a couple years ago, and I fell in love with it. Now it has become something that I HAVE to work on. Well, not just work on, it is something I have to do. I have a ton of director's notes, I know the story backwards and forwards, I even have set design, lights, sound, and costume ideas as well as general blocking figured out. I had a reading of the play a little while ago - simply because I needed to hear it outside of my head. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone was impressed.
To be fair though, this is not something I think a lot of people can understand with just one reading. The script is rather complicated. It jumps back and forth in time without much indication of timeline. I do think this play is better after you've studied it awhile.
I have, and I have a lot of thoughts on this - especially on the characters. So this blog entry - probably will be a long one - will be an attempt to get some of these story and character thoughts out in the open. If anyone cares to comment, I welcome other opinions!

Basic Setting: The play takes place at various times during the Spring, Summer, and Fall of a year in and around the town of Eldritch somewhere in the midwest. There are several references to Des Moines, Chicago, St. Louis, and since the author was from Missouri, people generally tend to place it there. It is usually played in the late 1950s, early 1960s. Eldritch was once a bustling coal mining town, but since the coal ran out, has been reduced down to almost a ghost town. The general feeling the script gives you about the town is that almost everything is either closed, or in disrepair. The people living there seem kind of stuck, and are worn out from life.

Basic Plot: Like I said before, the play kind of travels back and forth around this one event. Although, its not life you see a scene before the event, then a scene after, then before, then after, with the powerful event in the middle. There is no logic, it seems, to the showing of what happens when. Often, you don't really know when a scene takes place - mostly because you don't really know exactly what the main event is until near the end of the play. But this play is about more than just this event. It is a portrait of this town, and the people in it. It is unflinchingly accurate with some of its cruelty, but there is also great beauty in the script. Wilson takes the ordinary and makes it poetry without losing an authentic feel; kind of a common man's Shakespeare - and that is a compliment. PLOT SPOILER - basically, the event is the almost rape of a young girl, and the death of an innocent man. But like it said, it is also so much more than that. This is as scaled down a plot as I can muster. Because so much of this story is about the town, and only has some connection to this event. You'd have to read it to understand what I mean by that, but trust me, which that event is the center of the plot, it is not the center of the overall story.

More to come later - will start with character descriptions next. :D

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