In February of 2010 I submitted a post regarding the (then) present disposition of a play I had written years before, but until then had never released. The play is titled MORGAN and to this day remains a passion in my life.
It’s funny how some things come into being. My young daughter and I had been watching one of the many dreary King Arthur movies on television, when she turned to me and asked, “Morgan le Fay? Who is HE?”
I answered as best I could, but in the back of my mind I was already envisioning a play that would justify that question.
Before I put a single word on paper, I spent three years reading every novel, history, and commentary I could find regarding the literary Arthur Pendragon and his estranged half-sister, Morgan. (There’s reasonable evidence to suggest that an “Arthur” actually lived, and that he was so far removed from the legend as to be almost unrecognizable.)
I made a couple of interesting discoveries.
The first – a somewhat humbling realization. In 6th century England there were both crude and sophisticated civilizations, religions, and codes of conduct. Intelligent thought was in evidence. My country has yet to HAVE a 6th century. During the time of Arthur, where I live was swamp lands – Indians hadn’t even reached here.
The other discovery was more to the point. Throughout most of the narratives, there is a recurrent theme along these lines; Morgan was evil, a schemer, a witch, jealous of her half-brother, and constantly plotting his downfall for never fully explained reasons. Eventually Arthur “wins,” but only after prolonged struggle and cost (including his life.)
I soon realized the problem started with Arthur. He was ultimately the winner, and history is almost always written by the last group standing. The truth, as I discovered, is that Morgan was the victim in every sense of the word. As a child she witnessed her lands taken away, her father killed, and her mother raped. To put it in modern terms, Morgan witnessed a terrorist attack.
So that became Act I of my play.
Act II chronicles Morgan’s rise to power. It seems reasonable (as literature) to suggest that Druids existed at that time, that Merlin was a Druid High Priest, and that they wielded real mystical power. Morgan, being a woman, realized her only opportunity to effect justice was by embracing black arts. She became second only to Merlin, and outlasted him.
Act III follows her descent into madness and the suggestion of recovery. She became an absolute power, and “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” She became Hitler at his worst. With the death of Arthur she loses her powers and there is an implication that she could eventually regain a degree of sanity.
The play ends with an irony. Without her constant prodding, Arthur would have been nothing. If left in peace, he would have been an insignificant king of a lackluster kingdom, one in a long line of dusty footnotes. Instead of destroying him, she directly and indirectly created the legend.
Now you have the picture. It’s a large and complex work. No theatre I know is capable of producing it. (Key words here are “I know.”) About a year ago I was discussing the language in the play with a friend who produces mainly Shakespeare plays. She asked to read it, and a month later asked if I would allow the work to be considered for production by them.
I agreed, made note of it in a blog, and then forgot about it.
A couple of days ago one of my favorite commentators asked for an update. Here it is.
In November the Shakespeare producer contacted me and said her company would produce the play if I would direct. Since at the time I was neck deep in the RICHARD III production, I postponed answering.
And that’s where I am now. I don’t know if I want to do this.
In our Writer's Group gift exchange, a good friend gave me this Teapot calendar for Christmas. Not an expensive gift this, but a warming one. She is well aware of my undisguised attraction to anything teapot.
Above a teapot on the opposite side of the room is another wall hanging, given to me by a loving daughter some years back. It also reminds me of constant support and encouragement.
A long number of years ago I fancied myself to be an artist. I played with brushes for awhile, graduated to smearing paint on canvas with a knife, a saw, even once encouraged a small child to wallow across a canvas barefoot. (True story. Unfortunately, the child was half way across my kitchen before I could catch her ...)
And then I discovered the airbrush. With no effort at all I could produce ten paintings at a time, and they were so utterly bazaar that utterly bazaar human beings would purchase them and hold them dearly close (figuratively speaking.)
It was shortly after I started detailing the neighbor's dog that I saw a pictorial in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC supposing what other planets might look like.
My immediate reaction was "I can do that," and, placing cans on black canvas, happily sprayed up a storm - sometimes literally.
The cans sold easily. All of the paintings - seven of 'em - sold, except one. I was surprised. The one to be found wanting was of an exploding star, and by a fluke looked not too bad.
That was years ago.
I found the thing today while I was digging Christmas trivia out of a closet.
I know, I know. This wee tale sounds suspiciously like a writer over/under stimulated.
Could be. But how, then, do you explain this dumb thing?
Why is it we always get together at these strange hours of the night?
I got a new computer - can you tell? I was going to buy one, but a friend who loves me gave me this one, and I've literally spent the entire day moving files and arranging little icons like ducks in a row ... (Now isn't that a silly statement? My mother used to raise ducks, and I'm reasonably sure she never tried to put any of them in a row. An annoyed duck is not a pretty sight.)
Yesterday I finished re-writing the second of three plays I'm contracted to direct. The play is called "Zack," and is set in England in the year 1916. It pretends to be a comedy, but much of the dialog aimed toward and about women was, to me, offensive, so I changed it. I've discovered that I'm strongly in favor of woman's liberation and equality. Some of the better influences in my life have come from truly smart women ... (Unfortunately I didn't marry any of them, but that's a story for another time.)
Tomorrow - later today - I may actually get back to writing on any one of the three plays "in progress" and neatly stored in Documents. Or I may not. I have a small antique cabinet in the basement, partially restored. Maybe I'll partially restore it a bit more,
I had forgotten what it's like to be between shows, The sun still comes up and goes down. My neighborhood is in color - I had forgotten. A squirrel waits for an offering of bread. I think that when a squirrel is not afraid of you, why, that's a pretty wonderful thing.
In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn a stately pleasure-dome decree: where Alph, the sacred river, ran through caverns measureless to man down to a sunless sea. So twice five miles of fertile ground with walls and towers were girdled round: And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills, where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; And here were forests ancient as the hills, enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
Jack Bunny is the alter ego of a playwright, theatrical director, and drama critic. If you are at a party and see a 150 pound rabbit at the punch bowl, it might be him!
(On the other hand, it might also mean that perhaps you should step away from the punch bowl for awhile.)
ANOTHER DUMB GHOST STORY (Full length)
THE REVENANT (Full length)
CORIE (Full length)
MORGAN (Full length)
VOLLEYS (Full length)
ELYCE TIMES ONE (Full length - written with J.E. Ocean)
THE DISENCHANTED FROG (Children's One-act)
THE ART OF BUILDING BRIDGES (One-act)
FROM MY VANTAGE POINT (One-act)
THE TRIAL (One-act)
WHAT'S NEW IN LATHERDUE? (Reader theatre One-act)
ROUGH DRAFT (One-act)
THE GRAND GILDER (One-act)
Old friend remembered
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
I hate writing, I love having written.
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.
It must be summer. I can smell California burning.
Starbucks is where certain relationships go to die.
I can only answer the question 'What am I to do?' if I can answer the prior question, 'Of what story do I find myself a part?'
Walmart always makes me cry ...
Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.
The Bible in the hand of one man is more dangerous than a whiskey bottle in the hand of another.
Can people stop dying please? Just for a little bit. maybe.
Mettle not in the affairs of Dragons, for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.
He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise in heart.
Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned/nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.
This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.
In my many years I have come to the conclusion that one useless person is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a Congress.
Wearing underwear is as formal as I get.
"Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain ..."
Our revels now are ended.
These, our actors, as I foretold you, were all spirits, and are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision, the cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself, yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, and, like this insubstantial pageant faded, leave not a rack behind.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.