Besides writing, when I am not working, I am often at one of our community theaters. I haven’t been on stage since I was in high school but the more time I am at the theater the more I am thinking about auditioning. Chances are I will never develop the nerve to do so because I am more comfortable backstage.
I will warn you now, musicals, and sometimes plays, do tend to creep into my blog posts because theater is just as much a part of me as writing. Last month my blog asked if Jo March (from Little Women) was right about travel. I used to costume (though I can’t sew) and have given it up. The last show I costumed was Man of La Mancha. Come on, how hard is it to costume a bunch of actors in rags? It isn’t like they have to be a tailor fit, which is good. Did I mention, I can’t sew.
Well, it turned out harder than I anticipated because I couldn’t get them dirty enough. Oh, the things we do for our characters. If I am not callusing my fingertips at the keyboard, I am in a garden plot after a fresh rain with costumes, or ash from the fireplace, or potting soil. It took me four separate dirtying rounds to get them dirty enough for the stage. Kind of like editing chapters, though some have taken me far more than four drafts to get it where I want it. Okay, let’s be honest. It took all of them a lot more than four drafts.
Most of my time at the theater is spent in makeup and hair. And, lately the majority of the shows I’ve worked on are period pieces. What I love about this is while researching the hair styles and makeup I also file the information away for future use in a novel. Though I pretty much stick with Georgian or Regency, I just may write a historical that takes place during WWII. Which brings me to the original point of this post.
In September I did makeup for South Pacific. This is a 1949 musical (music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan). The story is taken from James A. Michener’s 1948 novel, Tales of the South Pacific. Do you think Michener was envisioning a musical when he wrote this Pulitzer Prize novel?
I’ve read blogs and articles where authors discuss possible movie rights for their novels, but I don’t think I’ve read where they have considered the story being adapted for a musical. So, thinking big, I tried to envision my characters breaking into song. Try as I might, it wasn’t working. There is potential for some of my heroines, but for my heroes – it is never happening. So, I guess my novels won’t make it to Broadway. I suppose if I want to see my show in lights I need to develop characters that have a song in their heart.
What about you? Have you ever envisioned your novel on the silver screen, as a stage play or entertaining musical? Try to picture your current novel or WIP as a musical. What is your first reaction?