Theatrical Breathplay

While they bother no one else, I loathe the period in a play between when one scene ends and another begins.

Scene changes! They all happen the same way: the sound designer plays a flaccid jingle, the lighting designer shows off, the man down the aisle coughs, and the woman in front of you nudges her husband. Maybe you see some stagehands.

It’s awful. In these precious seconds, the theatrical spell is broken and must be re-cast in the following scene. The play dies in the minds of you and everyone else in the theatre. I can feel it dying. I don’t want to feel that.

Every time I write a play that has scenes, I write in damage control—something that might keep the play alive and its pulse regular. The scene changes in The Cloak Of Horus! are essentially fictional. In As You Wish, the stage rarely goes completely dark; during most of the first act, Aladdin is together with the Princess only during scene changes.

I’m writing something now with transitions that I want to be As You Wish-style, but it isn’t as easy with a play that only has one storyline to follow.

But I have to do it. My plays must live unbroken lives, and that means no man in the audience can be permitted to clear his throat. Basically, I want to engage in breathplay with the entire audience. If my fingers aren’t gripping your neck, why even bother to write anything?

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