The source material I'm gathering and reading is helping a lot. I'm using Ophelia as a muse right now, and she is powerful. The image I found of her in the painting I posted, is haunting and full of symbolism. I've looked at it several times today. The flowers next to her hand suggests her penchant for the beauty of the earth, and yet she chooses to leave it. It is also suggestive of her last speech in the play, as she metaphorically pronounces each flower and the flower's meaning. The look on her face reflects a death mask. The shallow stream, (less than a river) suggests her as a suicide and not a drowning victim. Her hands and arms slightly opened up to suggest the resolve in her decision, and her opening to the spirit world. The foliage around her makes a perfect and beautiful tomb, suggesting a beautiful place that she knew well. I love the image. A painting tells such a powerful story. Paintings and plays are similar in their evocation, as they each have their own purpose and meaning. Sleep well, Ophelia.
I'm also using source material from photographs. While I was in St. George, (on my way here) Cheryl downloaded forty or so photographs from family archives. Most days, I look through them at least once if not more. There are old cowboy pictures of my Grandfather. There is the last picture taken of my Father. There is my mother and father when they were very young and together. From these pictures, I find the nostalgic place that exists in all of us. Nostalgia is key to a story play, because it keeps the past relevant. I love the old photography of the fifties and sixties, it has disappeared, but suggests something that can only be--the still existing moments of childhood.
I'm using L.A. as source material. I was born here, I've lived here it seems like a dozen times. Today, the air was fresh with wind, and was exhilarating, the smells in the air, all the senses remember something even when we do not. Those senses make memories live. They join the past with the present, and the present with something eternal, and not just my own memory of being here before. The material is in the history of the city. The history of the people, of the streets, of the trees. Silver Lake, (where I'm currently staying) is in the hills East of Hollywood. The houses come tumbling down the hills, the streets are narrow and old. A great city to be crafting this play.
Finally, as fate would have it, a biography of Jack Kerouac that my mother gave me, I savor it. Now, I'm no Kerouac, but I certainly relate to his story. I relate to the journey, I relate to the black dog/white dog in him. I've been reading the excerpts of 'Mexico City Blues' and somehow get all of it. I don't get all the references, but I so get the emotion of it. The rhythm of it, the be-bop of it. It seems lately, whatever I'm doing outside of this room, whether I'm reading the paper, or watching a documentary, or talking with someone, there is a Kerouac reference. Yep, I'm in the right place.
So, today has been good to me--the weekend looks good--I'll move once again on Sunday, and start finding my way from a new part of the city, a mile and a half from the theatre--rehearsals start soon, its getting closer, but its the process that gives us life, its the process that tells the story... jump off a cliff and build your wings before you hit the water, and if you don't finish them, start swimming..."