Sidelined again, only this time I’m being drawn away from inaction.
Instead of having a Vacation Bible School this year, our congregation is having a family fun day – kind of like a VBS all scrunched into one day, with the added attraction of bouncy inflatables and… oh, I don’t know. Whatever else you do at one-day VBS-type events.
So one day a couple of weeks ago, my wife was asking me a rather odd series of pointed questions. “Have you ever wanted to write, oh, say, a pirate adventure? Or something set in the old west?”
Naturally, that set off my Spider Sense – or perhaps I should say, my Writer’s Sense. So I said something like, “Okay, who wants what?”
Our church, as it turns out. They want an episodic melodrama to run between classes and they thought that the resident novelist and playwright at the congregation would be the perfect person to write it.
And I instinctively jumped at the chance to write a Pirate tale.
(Yes, I know that in real-life pirates were not the fun-loving Johnny Depp or Errol Flynn types that we know and revere – they were outright scum of the earth who deserved the hell that the law-abiding navies of the world sent them to – so let’s just put that objection aside and turn on the Suspension of Disbelief, shall we?)
What’s interesting is that I have pretty much free rein to do what I want. The folks in charge of the project said that if I just wrote the melodrama, they would find a way to connect it to their Bible lessons. So I guess I could write a piratical booze, blood, and babes epic and they would relate to it by saying, “Oh, don’t those poor people need Jesus?”
Okay, I’m exaggerating there. I need to write six 10 – 15 minute episodes, and I have the first three and the sixth in my head. I don’t have to put in an overt religious message, but I think it would help the people writing the curriculum out immensely if I managed to put some subtle and not-so-subtle examples of old fashioned virtues, Christian living, or Biblical allusion into the script. Which is what I’m planning on doing (in Episode One, for example, the young man who is the hero agrees to take the place of his father, who is about to be conscripted onto one of ‘er Majesty’s ships that is going to chase down a marauding pirate).
Otherwise, I have the run of my imagination to do what I want. Wait, I take that back. I have to have one bit where a guy swings in on a rope because our minister wants to swing in on a rope during the adventure. Hey, at least it’s not rewriting a script to give Shatner all the best lines.
The working title is The Terrible Misfortune, which is the name of a ship – although I haven’t decided if it’s the Pirate ship or the naval ship chasing them down. I’ll probably start work on it tonight. It should be a fairly short write, and I’ll no doubt be doing goofy things to stay in a piratical mood, like watching Master and Commander yet again (not pirates, I know, but there’s no better film about shipboard life) and buying packs of Pirates of the Spanish Main cards and building a little fleet on my desktop.
And yes, I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going.
Meantime, I’m really bummed about not getting the Christmas play finished for the 2006- 07 season. When things went haywire, I thought, “No problem, there’s always 07 – 08.” What I hadn’t figured, though, is that my daughter, who was going to be my Stage Manager/Assistant Director will be gone off by then, either to college or to a foreign land. And I was really looking forward to working with her on the production.
Oh, well. Once again, welcome to life.
If all the people in the world lost their reason
What would we see, where would we be
If all the entertainers in the world lost their music
What would they play, what could they say
To pacify the crowd, to justify themselves
(via iPod Shuffle)