Saturday, 8 February 2020

For the Audience

Dial M for Murder, the stage play, is set, almost entirely, in a single apartment room. For his movie version, an interviewer suggested, Alfred Hitchcock would "open up" the piece, wouldn't he? "No," said Hitchcock (according to the Peter Bogdanovich DVD commentary). "You don't open it up, you just shoot it." Of course, "just shoot it" is something one can do only after thirty years of film-making.
Anyway, how would I stage the ending of my Charlotte's Web. The book is note-perfect: Charlotte and Wilbur are alone the day after the big climax at the Fair. Soon it's time to go back to the barn at Zuckerman's, but Charlotte knows she won't make it. Wilbur is heartbroken but acts quickly when they come to load him into the truck. He gets the rat to snip Charlotte's egg sac from her web and deliver it to Wilbur for safe-keeping in his mouth (the sac is waterproof, we already know) all the way home. Their final good-byes consists of a wink by Wilbur, a week waving of a few front legs by Charlotte. The truck drives away, the Fairground empties, and Charlotte dies alone.
There's one more chapter. Wilbur cares for the egg sac all winter. In spring the 514 eggs hatch and all but three of Charlotte's daughters drift away on their little silk balloons. (He hears their weak "Good-bye, good-bye," the poor guy.) These three build webs around Wilbur's pen. They pledge friendship to him and he to them, and he tells them about their mother.
There is no reason I can think of, at least for now, to open this up. 
How I'd love to be part of presenting this moment to an audience. 

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