Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Great Globe Itself: Talking Heads

Inspiration comes from many places. Last Wednesday night, at Workshop Players, it became a bit of a running joke during the discussion, exactly what the inspiration for this play had been?

Because I had originally been inspired by my mentor Bill Condee and his emphasis on theater architecture, coupled with my own undergraduate experience performing largely on the university’s thrust stage.

Only my original inspiration had actually been inspired by John Vacha’s account of young Sam Wanamaker, and how his work in Cleveland in 1936 had inspired a lifelong dream of creating a new Globe Theatre.

Except I was really actually originally inspired by the idea of Mark Rylance’s three-man Tempest, and my desire to see three men perform a warm-up dance call to BAD II’s single The Globe.


Every one of these things are true, inspiration comes from everywhere. However, each individual scene did not begin to properly take shape until I gave each of them a title from a song by Talking Heads.


Arthur was the first to catch this, as each scene has a heading in the script – Burning Down the House, Once In a Lifetime and This Must Be the Place. Each of these phrases are spoken during the play, as part of the dialogue, so audiences aren’t even supposed to notice it.


What’s the point? None, really. I like Talking Heads. I am particularly fond of This Must Be the Place. Only recently did I search David Byrne’s description of what the song means, it’s one of the few love songs the band ever created, and it is composed entirely of non sequitrs, unrelated phrases people in love might say to each other, entirely out of context.


But once I knew that the first scene would be about (spoiler alert) the original Globe Theatre burning to the ground, I noticed two other of their singles were could be said to describe the action of the following two scenes. This made writing them easier, gave the action of each of specific focus. The titles were a touchstone, the scenes aren't actually about the songs.

We had a great performance at Beachwood Public Library this afternoon, the audience was very generous and responsive. I live the libraries, there’s such a diverse age range in the audience. Tomorrow we travel to Kendal at Oberlin, performance at 7:15 pm. Please join us.

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