Thursday 25 June 2020


I've hired four actors for a five-hour work-through of the book to my Charlotte and Wilbur, sometimes known as Wilbur and Charlotte. Tomorrow from noon to five, Regina time.
General intro: who you are, how I know you, and thank you, SKarts. 
My objectives: to the hear the characters speak, to draw upon your experience as theatre professionals re script, staging, props, lighting, costumes, sound, sf/x etc.
I'll ask questions not looking for definitive answers but possibilities.
My vision for the show is a mainstage Christmas or late-season show, a musical. I imagine the stage I know best--the round at Globe Theatre, where all four actors have performed. I want to create for others what I experience in a musical theatre audience. In a word, enchantment. In two, total submission.
Why an adaptation of Charlotte's Web? Because the moral stakes are high, it offers positive models of parenting and teaching, it shows how to find love in a time of darkness, it contains humour and play, it believes that words matter, it gives us a beautiful rendering of the great theme: time passing.
All the characters are deeply embedded in their world, without irony (except Templeton, the rat). They're all fully who they are.
So we'll run each scene, pause for questions, run it again. Then each act. Then the whole show, time permitting.
And the last question will be, Should it be called Wilbur and Charlotte or Charlotte and Wilbur?

Thursday 4 June 2020

Words and Music

Dedicated readers of this blog--yes, good sunny morning to you, Aunt Huck and Uncle Jim--will know I've been writing a musical called Charlotte and Wilbur, which I may have typed as Wilbur and Charlotte once or twice.
First draft finished, it's on hiatus for the month while I write something else.
When I say 'finished,' I mean the first draft of the book is finished, with notes for some songs and fragments of lyrics, but no complete songs.
Last night I caught an interview between Andre Previn and Stephen Sondheim from 1977. In their "what comes first, the music or the lyrics" chat, Sondheim says usually he hears the rhythm of the melody, then he finds the words. He cites Cole Porter writing "it was just [pause] one of those things" as that rhythm first, then later as the famous melody, here done by Rosemary Clooney.
So, says Sondheim, I look for two things: a title line that sums up what the song is saying, and a rhythm. "From there, melodic ideas form."
This all makes perfect sense to me, given my limited experience with such matters. 
But, as I say, I'll be getting to all that later. The interview with Previn and the wonderfully articulate Sondheim, by the way, is one of the best I've seen.