Sunday, May 04, 2008

Being RANDOM! and loving it.

Neil Gaiman is the shit. That said, I haven't read much of anything he's written. Half of a short story that was in an anthology of the best fantasy of whatever year that got a little gruesome (if darkly humerous) and then the book had to go back to the library. But I did watch Stardust the movie and that was a charming concept of ideas and I have seen video of his public readings. He's so frickin quirky and sure of who he is that the effect is charming.

I was trolling his blog today (I still don't understand the reference to "the bees" so obviously I don't troll there too often) and that same assured, quirky style carries over into his blogging voice. Naturally. As does an inclination for the most random and strange associations, for use of modern language and phrasing in unconventional locations. Great skills for a man who spends his life creating modern fairy tales.

But this visit got me going again. And strangely enough, it got me writing an opening monologue for the libretto my college friend OperaJohn asked me to write for him.

[He'll probably hate that I've dubbed him OperaJohn if for no other reason than it makes his initials O.J. *evil laughter*]

OperaJohn is always pushing for the stranger the better. In everything he does, but particularly when he was discussing subject matter for the libretto. Operas, in my limited experience, tend to read like fairy tales. Strange plot holes and impossible scenarios get shrugged off as meh, it's an opera. And then someone gets hitched. So he's trying to break away from that. Actually, it's more like he took a sledge hammer to that and now needs contemporary abstraction to replace it. And hopefully this isn't too abstract even for him. It will, presumably, get less strange as the story line continues, but as an opening it's a big WTF?

(To audience)
Before we begin, please note the location
of all emergency exits, the two escape hatches
on the stage, the glowing exit letters seeking
your removal. Take note and tally of your personal items.
List them, numerically, on a small piece of paper.
Take the time to pin this to the inside of your shirt.
You’ll need it for insurance purposes later.
Note the lights, their shine, and their position relative to you.
Answer yourself, are you in the dark, in the shadow,
does the bulk of the man in front of you eclipse the light
tumbling onto your lap where the hand of the man next to you
is rounding your knee?
------ Are the candles snuffed?
------------ The poisons lit?
The chocolate rain secured from the rafters?
You’re looking up and holding on
and twisting the paper between sweaty fists.
It’s not a paper it’s a program, but what
the hell do I care?
------ I don’t care.
------------ You don’t care
anymore that his hand is touching your thigh
because you know he’s seeking to look
and you’re looking to hold
on. To something. To anything.
We all just need something to hold on to.


Strange enough for you, John? ;)

Oh, and the movie Iron Man is hillarious. It's also kind of creepily realistic, but Robert Downy Jr. does a great job delivering some fantastic dialog.

Highly Recommended