The new piece

The Lucretia Jones Mysteries has begun. We started rehearsals two nights ago, and immediately blocked the first half of the piece. Last night we went at a slower pace, but got another twenty pages down.

Theater gets broken down a lot into styles of acting and styles of performance, and, like anything I guess, it can get broken down to the point where each individual show has its own style named the name of the show. Some of these are periphery enough to become complete styles themselves. If you are doing a “Urinetown” kind of show, it means the show is largely Po-mo and self-referential. If you are doing a “Rent” kind of show, it means you are writing pop music and you think you have street cred.

I’m not quite sure where Lucretia fits. It is a Mac Rogers show, which is starting to mean less and less the more prolific Mac gets. In college he repeated some of the same ways of making characters, even the same characters at times, and much of his work was centered around the college experience at a suspiciously familiar southern state school called “Meridian College”.

But each time Mac tries something new that works, he branches out again. For “Role” (now twice produced here in New York City), Mac had the actors assume characters on stage in front of the audience and in front of each other, and it worked. In this piece, we have gone a step further, with three actors and forty some odd characters changing constantly in front of each other and the audience. Even the one actor who plays Lucretia changes into another character for the benefit of a different character within the story. It works, believe me.

In a way, it’s a long-running satire of both Noir films and theater conventions, and it is broadly comic. But it is beginning to dawn on me that there is actually a really painful, really beautiful story underneath. These hard-boiled characters and caricatures actually seem to be figments of Lucretia’s mind, we see each one of them through her eyes and only as the refer to her. And if the caricatures are funny, they are also sad because Lucretia almost never sees them as more than that herself.

Anyway, I’m sure none of that will be apparent, people will just laugh when I get kicked in the nuts. But I love the script and, unlike most projects, I am loving it more the further I get into it.