Dec Workshop: getting started on Marketing and Government

We’ve been doing great work with KJ Sanchez’s Marketing line, and Erin Courtney and her Government story. Performers Dax Valdes, Nina Hellman, Sheila Tapia and Eboni Booth are working with us this week, as well as sound designer and composer Jane Shaw, video designer Jared Mezzochi, and lighting designer Chris Kuhl. We are following the same schedule that worked so well for our last workshop at HERE, alternating days between the two storylines to give each writer a day for rewrites before the next rehearsal of their piece.

TRADE dec workshop photo2Writing to the holes—this idea just came up as we were talking about the episodic nature of the whole shebang.

We had finished a read-through of KJ’s second draft, and the thing we always have to remind ourselves of is that almost no one will ever see all of the episodes on a single storyline in the course of a single evening, which for every writer has created a set of questions about maintaining continuity and communicating character or plot development. On top of that, there’s the episode length limit (5-10 minutes), gaps of 1-5 years between episodes, characters who jump between storylines, and lots of other challenges we’ve thrown in the way of our gorgeous writers.

So we were talking about a new twist in the relationship between Patricia and Darlene, and trying to decide whether we needed more backstory or explication. We all agreed that we liked the ambiguity, we liked the “holes” in their story: there was enough for us to “get it”, but the details were left to our imaginations. KJ said something about how she had embraced those gaps, those holes, and written for them.

I think this idea of “writing for the holes” is the way to go for everyone in this crazy show. Each script can’t be written to recap everything that has come before; the potential gaps will get bigger and bigger with each episode and soon there would be no new narrative, only recap. Each episode needs to be bold enough to stand on its own, but should also be bold about sitting within its own continuum. Yes, this will create “holes” for some—if not most—audience members, but that’s ok. The holes shouldn’t be feared, they should be embraced. They’re a dash of mystery—and mystery is sexy. It piques our curiosity and draws us in.

As Esther, the BEP employee in Erin’s Government thread, tells her colleague from the Secret Service about haikus: they are meant to be open and the reader completes the meaning.

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