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The Theatuh

Posted by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry
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on Wednesday, 03 December 2008 in Uncategorized

I was chatting by email last night with Stan Foote, director of the Oregon Children's Theater which produced my play "Gossamer" this past fall.  Stan said he is currently working on a musical of CLICK CLACK MOO which will open with the farmer shoveling manure (while dancing and singing, I suppose) ; he said they were in the process of designing the manure: " insulation foam, sprayed with glossy brown paint and and a few dabs of green here and there to and add little contrast, they are pooptastic."

Ah, the splendor of theater.

Me, I am heading tomorrow to Kansas, where I will see the first producton of a musical based on my book "Gathering Blue."  Since I didn't write this one, I have no idea how they went about it---what is left in, what was taken out---but at least we can be sure there will be no dancing cows.  I can see in my mind what it would be like if I HAD written it---can visualize what I would have kept, and how the set would be designed (I know, I know, if I learned anything from doing one play, it is that the author doesn't design the set!) but of course everyone has different visions, and it will be fun to see what these people have done.

I have just signed the contract for film rights to "The Willoughbys" and though of course nine times out of ten, the film you sell an option for is never made, still it is fun thinking about that one, too, how it would be done. I picture Peter Ustinov (is he still alive?) playing Commander Melanoff ---or maybe, alternatively, Paul Giamatti---and let's see: how about Frances McDormand as the Nanny?   It's always pointless to try to think of kids for roles because by the time the picture is actually made, the kids you thought of have have grown up.

Okay, instead of designing sets for a musical and casting a movie, I will turn my attention to my real work, the one thing I DO get to do: writing.  I am plodding along too slowly on my current project, possibly  because the plot--the main character, actually--- has entered a fish hatchery, and though I have done the necessary research and know, now, how to strip fish eggs and mix with milt (I once knew a guy named Milt. Wonder how he feels that his name also means fish sperm)--- frankly, it is not fascinating to me and that is probably why I am dragging my feet, writing-wise.

Of course, if the writer finds something boring, then it is entirely likely that the reader will, too.  A a writer I am always aware of that.  I have to find a way to beef this scene up----oops; wrong metaphor, for a fish hatchery. 




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Comments

Guest
O.jimenez Monday, 29 November 1999

Somehow your description of this translation reminds me of that saying, I think by Robert Frost that "poetry is that which is lost in translation" A few years back I venture to translate Pablo Neruda's poetry from the original Spanish into Englisn, in the research process I read a German translation of his verses, and existing translations in English. I found the German translations much more true to the original, in meter and meaning. Whereas in the English translation the author took a lot more "poetic freedom" in using words that were filled with their own imagery and inner meaning, making the poem less Neruda and more the translator. Perhaps poetry is much more difficult to translate because the author of the original poem uses words with precise meanings, dance along with their word partners a "Tango" of precision, but of delicious rythm and rhyme.
Needless to say, when I read Neruda in its original, I savored the language and its emotional tones, something the translations seemed to lack.
The lines you quote form this book remind me a bit of Hemingway's style.
Cheers.

Guest
Krista Monday, 29 November 1999

Thank you
I wish I could sit and have a cup of tea with you, and learn.

Guest
Tasses Monday, 29 November 1999

Oh! I adored this book. Enjoy!

Guest
o.jimenez Monday, 29 November 1999

Last Saturday I took my daughter to the mall across from Borders to get her ears pierced ( she got her courage up and decided to do it.)
After the excitement of the piercing we went to Borders (I got a coupon online.) I bought Ogawa's book, and she got "Diary of a Whimpy Kid."
The cover art is lovely with the pink cherry blossoms against the blue sky and the faint equations falling as pink petals. When I opened the book its soft pages made the sound you hear when walking on freshly fallen snow. The book is elegant and light as a feather. I dove into Ogawa's book.
The language is light and pithy, but I got stuck whenever I saw equations and words like "logarithm" and "pi" bursting into the story.
(secret: I hate math and baseball is not my thing.)
I grew impatient. My mind went blank each time lengthy descriptions of numbers-theories appeared. I found myself staring at the pages, secretly thinking about skipping to the ending and putting the book away.
Perhaps I need to start over, read it slowly, and appreciate the "spare quality of its prose."

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