Less Delicate Than The Printed Page
Been approached by a local theatre company her in Belfast ? Ireland. They want to put on a short Buk based play to run on the fringe of the Queen?s Festival ? 15/20 mins tops
Cast is two guys and a girl. I thought of: ?No Way to Paradise? (the one about the woman in a bar with a cage and the little people).
This may already be a dead thread, but I had some thoughts to share anyway.
I happen to think that Bukowski's writings are fertile ground for screenwriters and playwrights. I'd like to see a production that performs three or four of his individual short stories as one evening's worth of entertainment. Bukowski wrote dialogue well and some of it's funny, like in "There's No Business" from Septuagenarian Stew
. One would of course have to work the story into separate scenes and work out the costumes and staging. Bukowski wrote many stories where he's not one of the main characters. One of my favorites is "Bring Me Your Love," also from SS.
Another story I was touched by, but I don't recall the name right now, is about a lonely old fellow who's near the end and being verbally harassed by a couple of kids. One of the lines he says to the kids, who hurt his feelings, is, "It's no crime to be old" (or words to that effect). He then goes back to his room and the landlady knocks on his door. She kindly offers him a bowl of soup which he is grateful for...and then he quietly expires...in his room... This simple tale could be done with tenderness and atmosphere.
"Less Delicate Than The Locust," about the two aging but finally successful painters and their two young girlfriends, could be hilarious as a play, replete with the outrageous antics, the uncorking of the wine bottles in the restaurant and the banter of the girls, as they try to handle their talented but aging, asshole geniuses.
In stories where Bukowski happens to be one of the main characters, I think it's a mistake for the actor to try to mimic B's mannerisms exactly. I've yet to see it done well by anyone"”Bukowski's persona is too well known from tapes and interviews. There's more than one way to be a hard-assed tough guy, and it could be done in a way where the actor is not trying to remind the audience of Bukowski, yet still be effective as a drunken wild-man or lovable maniac. Otherwise there will be complaints about a bad Bukowski impersonation, and I wouldn't blame the audience. Over time, the way to perform Bukowski without trying to be
like Bukowski will be worked out. There will never be another Bukowski, and he was here to bring us into our own anyway.
In the meantime, I'd like to see more experiments to bring his writings to the stage successfully. There will be failures. But I can't imagine anything other than such productions bringing me back into the playhouse again"”that is, if the performances were convincing and topnotch. I feel this could be done with relative ease and in keeping with the spirit of the original writings themselves. That would be the only point: to create the same feeling in the audience as one would experience when reading the stories alone. Without that intent, I would see no reason to attempt them as plays in the first place.