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I read this. Now, I should point out that I read it mostly as a script and less as a play, even though I understand it is molded as a play.
My review contains spoilers. In fact, it contains one of the main twists of the script. So, if you have not read this script and plan to, I would suggest not reading this review.
All in all, it was definitely an interesting concept. the psychological consequences- and lack thereof- of a regular man in London dying of an unknown cause in the middle of his living room. This script is what I call "based on idea"; that is, the general essence of the script/any other fiction medium is one concentrated point, and the consequent pages are merely expansion on this central idea. This is not bad, and it can lead to interesting developments, but you must be careful not to say the point in the first few pages and just keep saying the same thing over and over again for dozens of pages.
If I may, here are a few points which I believe will refine this script and enhance it, delivering its message more clearly:
1)Initial repetition. The first dozen pages or so all contribute to an image that was basically understood in the first four pages. Now, since this dominating effect is perhaps the most central part of this script, I wouldn't suggest that you shorten it drastically. Rather, I think you should find new ways of making the same message. For example, the fish idea was excellent. It was a way of breaking the monotony for a moment and showing the same idea, only from a new angle. So, another aspect in that vein would, In my opinion, enhance the script, turning the attention of the viewer to new places. Also, shortening the dialogue slightly could help.
2)The death. I think it would be useful if the death is expanded on more; I don't mean revealing the cause of death, as that would destroy some of the universality of the script. However, if the audience is given some indicator as to his death or to an injury, so that we are not left completely in the dark. It also emphasizes even more the wife's negligence.
One could combine these two points thus: George coughs or shows some sign/s of minor illness. She keeps medicating him without asking, or something like that. It would create an interesting analogy with the fish, some more twist in Ethel's actions, and it gives a hint as to George's condition, even though few will expect actual death- or more correctly, those who expect death will have sensed that anyways. Just an example of what I'm trying to show. I hope you don't see this as me trying to take over the script or something, I would never do that, and all of this is just a suggestion.
In a related point, may I suggest making the death more dramatic to those who discover it? The end, in particular, seemed off-balance. Of course, you are trying to portray the wife as yet again indifferent. However, she has a dead body in her room, it's the husband she thought she loved...
3)Minor characters. I felt that the few minor characters were either unnecessary or necessary, but too brief. I see it thus: take the characters you want in the story, you want presented, and leave those you don't out. Those characters, give them some more time or depth. For example, The man in a woman's bathrobe. Do you want to say something about that character? If so, expand on this. Otherwise, it acts mostly as a space-filler.
As I read over my review it seems to be a little harsh. Therefore, this is necessary: The script was good. More than that, it had a message, something to say, beyond being just a drama or dark comedy. It is telling the viewer something. That is one of the highest forms of cinema. Every letter of this review is meant only as constructive criticism, and every point is nothing more than a suggestion, an idea for improvement. Dispose every last one of these ideas if you think the script benefits from it. Good luck, and well written.
Well writtten analysis, Magius! It was my first play attempt, realy. -- I'm devoloping a feature script based on it -- I agree with you about to expand the Man in woman's bathrobe character - tried to say a little about his problematic love and in order to show how George was so "dead", but I've failed I think... Anyway, I'll study about your thoughts because they were very helpfull mainling to develop the feature script based on it . Thanks a lot and keep reading my other shorts script!
Format wise I can't say anything because I don't know anything about plays, so I'm just going to assume youï¿½re right.
You wanted to know if I thought this would work as a feature. I guess it could if done really well. I think that might be tough though. There's an awful lot of pages that need to be filled out. This works really well as a play, maybe just perfect this one.
This one to me, says Helio all over it, I like it!
I feel so sorry for George. Sadly I know a lot of couples like that, where the woman just goes on and on and never shuts up, never even listens to her man. That part worked really well.
Funny part is that no one notices George's condition. Really good.
I also like how the poor fish keeps getting overfed. We used to have a 180 gallon tank so I know how sensitive they are.
Before I realized George's condition I thought there was going to be an affair or something between him and Larita. Instead there's another person who doesn't listen or care. Poor George is all I can say.
HER VOICE, IMITATING A MIXTURE OF GERMAN AND CHINESE, WITHOUT LOSING HER PORTUGUESE ACCENT ONE
That really cracked me up.
The man in the woman's bathrobe seemed random, but I like when you're random. Predictable you are not! I love that about you.
Ditto that for the preacher too.
Ethel and the police was good as well.
I liked this. Can it be a feature length? Possibly, but I think it'd be a tough thing to do.
I think keeping george alive a bit longer would be a good idea. The point of this is to show the parallell between the attitude towards George when he was alive and the attitude for him when he died, showing how similar they are. If you prolong his life a bit longer it might be easier to maker that comparison.
I enjoyed the play. Ethel reminded me a little of the lead in "Keeping Up Appearances," who's name eludes me, in the whole not giving her husband, or anyone else, a word edgewise. There's also some nice satire with Ethel constantly complaining about the police officer while taking care of him and the preacher. Most important, to me, is that this is a play, with a story told in a fairly straightforward way. Living in NYC, you can't throuw a rock off Broadway without hitting all sorts of plays that feel the need to be clever and almost unintelligible with a whiff of smugness that I'm not following them. This was clear, had some delightful lines and stage directions. Sorry for the rant, but it is meant as a compliment.
Hi EBurke73, Iï¿½m sorry to answering your review so late, it was because I'm been so busy these days after my book releases. Anyway here I'm saying that it was my first attempt into this type of work. I hope one day to write something clever and in the same time touching, emotional, but I feel that my vain is to write comedy.
Thanks a lot for the time youï¿½ve dispended reading my play and for the compliments, dude!