Act one, scene one, scene two, scene ... 14!
It can be quite a challenge to adapt a novel for the big screen, but to adapt a movie for the stage is a whole new ball game. And it’s a brave director who takes on the task of producing a play with a multitude of scenes.
Enter Melvyn Bates who determined how it could be done, but his main concern was the need to make these numerous scene changes quick and easy.
Enter the hapless set builder (that’s me, Keith Begley) who claims he likes a challenge and then wonders whether he can deliver.
Imagine you are at the cinema and enjoying a movie, which at the blink of an eye swaps from indoors to outdoors, from posh to poor and now to later. Much later (like next year!) and we accept it all readily, mainly because it happens so quickly. We don’t have time to dwell on a sudden change of scene or we might lose the thread. Delays can be a distraction and the practicalities of ‘setting the scene’ can destroy the spell.
Take ‘The Graduate’ our forthcoming play; a bed features prominently in the first scene, then it is removed for the next, then it’s back, then off, on, off, on off throughout the play, but in different scenes as well! And if there are different scenes, it has to be apparent, like different furniture, different pictures, etc. So, it’s not just the bed that is on/off.
Of course, the actors help us out by maintaining the story, it is often said that if the audience is busy looking at the set then the actors are not doing their job. Well, they’ve got their work cut out on this one, poor Benjamin is in every scene, it is enough to knock his socks off – or maybe he keeps them on! It’s worth coming to see this play just to find out.
Keith Begley, Mar 8, 2017