Tag Archives: David Bolus

From The Inkwell – “Tormenting Tantalus” And Adapting “Macbeth”

So, I’ve been working on assignments as my friend David Bolus gives them to me. It helps encourage me to actually, y’know, finish my projects. The last finished product is the one act play “Tormenting Tantalus.” Which may have a name change to just “Tantalus.” Or perhaps even “T.” I dunno.

Anyway, I talked about the play at least once before, but I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it since its completion. Part of a planned mythology trilogy, “Tantalus” is the first play, one that delves into what could drive people to a level of madness that leads to infanticide and cannibalism.

…yeah, if you don’t know the story of the mythological figure Tantalus, this play will seem WAY out of left field.

I have finally figured out which figures will be covered in the trilogy, though, which is exciting. Tantalus, Prometheus and Orpheus. All rather tragic stories. Some tragedies far more violent and abhorrent than others, of course, but each has a story to tell. A story that was, perhaps, left to the listener to discern. That’s how it feels to me, at least. And these plays, when complete, will hopefully tell my version of that story.

I really like religion in all its forms. If you can’t tell. My first two completed works of theatre deal with Christianity and Greek mythology. And my next original work will hopefully be “God’s Playlist” before I head back to hit “Prometheus.” After that, then I take a break from the religious overtones and write my screenplay for “The Tribe.”

…that one has more of a cult feel than a religion feel.

…yeah, one day I’ll write about something else.

Anyway, currently, I’m adapting William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”  (because there are so many others) into a 15-minute screenplay. Why? Because the short story format baffles me. My first short story was 36 pages long, and could have easily been much longer. The shortest thing I’ve ever even conceived is “God’s Playlist,” a 15-minute movie. Of course, filmmakers don’t see that as short at all. And after discovering it can take a week to film for a two-minute movie, I suppose I can see their point.

When I told David this, he gave me the assignment of writing a 15-minute screenplay. It could either be an original story about Emily from “Camp Gethsemane” or an adaptation of any other work. Then he said the word “Shakespeare.”

And, of course, being an idiot, I chose that one. The first act of “Macbeth” has been boiled down into three pages. The second act, the one where King Duncan gets murdered, is a single page.

I feel really weird doing this.

Still, I’m four and a half pages in now, nearly a third of the way through. With it due this Friday, I think I’m making good time. It should be an interesting final product.

But, back to ACTUAL final products… sort of. “Tantalus” is now in the peer review and edit phase. So far, only one peer has reviewed it, but others have it in their possession. And if the workshop/reading for “CG” goes well this weekend, there may be others interested in my work. Which is all pretty awesome.

…the point is, last time I wrote about “Tantalus,” I gave you the intro as it was written. There were some changes in description and such, but it remained largely untouched. Now, I give you the next scene. A scene of normalcy and happiness. …you just know that ain’t gonna last.


The BOOKKEEPER watches impartially. This is his duty. The story must be told. As he watches the events unfold before him, the DENIZENS of this story come onstage, carrying the items to set the scene. They seem wracked with constant fears and pains. They are the ones moaning for their eternities, trapped in the hellish punishments, designed specifically for them. Dressed in rags of grey, they are hunched over, twitching and moving unnaturally. They look to be falling apart. The MAN does not notice them, but does move out of the way, going to the far corner to put on his tie. The DENIZENS do not moan now. They simply do as the BOOKKEEPER has instructed. They know their duty in this story. They bring out a small, square table, a kitchen chair, some mail, a briefcase. They set the table cattycornered in the corner, putting the chair near it. The briefcase and papers go on the table. The DENIZENS head back offstage, shuffling silently, as the MAN finishes tying his tie and heads to the kitchen table. After the DENIZENS leave, the lights come up, normal, bright, cheery. The BOOKKEEPER remains at his post. The MAN sits down at the table, looking through the mail. The WOMAN comes in, carrying a plate of toast, bacon and eggs and a cup of coffee.

WOMAN: Morning, sweetie.

She sets the plate and cup on the table, avoiding the mail.

MAN: Good morning, love.

The two share a kiss. The MAN reaches for the coffee as he reads the letter he is currently holding. The WOMAN sits at the table next to him as he takes a drink.

WOMAN: Today’s the day they’re giving out that promotion, right? Are you worried?

The MAN sets down the letter, turning and smiling at the WOMAN.

MAN: Maria. Dear. There’s no reason to worry about these sorts of things. Either I’ll get it, or I won’t. Besides, you know it’ll either be me or Kenneth that gets it, and we both promised that, whoever gets the position, we’ll put in a good word for the other. So no worries.

The MAN kisses MARIA, then returns to his breakfast, piling his eggs and bacon onto his toast and eating. MARIA rolls her eyes and stands, standing behind the MAN and sliding her arms around him slowly. The MAN sets his breakfast toast pile back on the plate, caressing MARIA’s arms.

MARIA: You know, Jacob… it would hurt to get a little worried about things once in a while.

JACOB smirks, looking back at her.

JACOB: You want me to stress out and be more worried?

MARIA: Well, sure. It’s healthy sometimes. Shows that you care what happens. That you have some passion for what you do.

JACOB raises an eyebrow.

JACOB: I’ll show you passion, missy.

JACOB spins MARIA into his lap, growling in a playful, sexy manner, closing in for a slow, deep kiss as MARIA giggles and moans softly in pleasure. Such playful moments have an end to them, however. The BOY comes rushing in.

BOY: Daddy, daddy, daddy!

JACOB breaks the kiss with MARIA and smiles at her. She smiles back, leaving his lap and straightening her outfit out. She heads off to get PETER some juice. JACOB reaches down to pick up the BOY and put him in his lap.

JACOB: Heeeeey, Peter! Hungry for some breakfast?

PETER smiles and hugs his dad around the neck. JACOB smiles and kisses the top of PETER’s head before turning him around and lifting him again.

JACOB: Let’s get you sitting in the chair… there you go.

JACOB slides out from under PETER and lets PETER sit in his chair. PETER starts devouring the breakfast left over from JACOB’s brief affair with the meal. MARIA returns, holding a sippy cup with some juice inside. She puts the cup on the table near the plate, and PETER grabs at it eagerly, drinking from the cup as though he had been dying of thirst. JACOB takes the suit jacket off the back of the chair and slips it on. MARIA goes to his front to straighten his tie. Everything is perfect, happy, wonderful.

MARIA: I hope I’ll get to see that passion later, stud.

JACOB: You know you will.

They kiss. True love. Clearly, they care for one another. JACOB grabs his briefcase and quickly pecks MARIA again.

JACOB: Love you.

MARIA: Love you, too.

JACOB ruffles PETER’s head. PETER waves at his dad, still ravenously devouring the last bits of the breakfast left for him.

JACOB: See you later, kiddo.

PETER attempts to say goodbye, but his mouth is filled with buttery, crisp bread, fluffy egg and salty bacon, which proceeds to spray forth back onto the plate in small amounts. MARIA squats down and wipes at PETER’s mouth with a napkin.

MARIA: Swallow then speak, Peter. And have a good day at work, sweetie!

JACOB: See you tonight!

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Can We Please Have More Responsible Politicians?

So, first thing’s first… today is kind of boring. I spent a large portion of the day helping to blow up a friend of mine’s Facebook status via discussions of Chick-fil-A, the LGBT(Alphabet Soup) community and all the tangents that come from that. Including Christianity and Constitutionality and so forth.

There was, apparently, a “kiss-in” or something at many Chick-fil-A’s today. A counter-protest. And, of course, some counter-protesters have gotten out of hand, such as the guy who was berating a random Chick-fil-A employee, ultimately harming their own cause.

But I’ve already talked about Chick-fil-A twice. Once should’ve been more than enough, but I felt the need to revisit it, and I really don’t feel like talking more about it here.

Oddly, I was going to talk about “You didn’t build that.” I was thinking about titling the post “We Built This Business All On Our Own,” to be hummed to the tune of “We Built This City” by Starship.

…but then I looked back and realized I already wrote about it in a post boringly titled “The Honesty Gaffe.”

Man. I creativeblock myself far too often.

Which, speaking of, my current assignment from my friend David Bolus (remember that name, it will be a big deal one day) is to write a 15-minute script. 15 pages of screenplay format. Because I said that sort of thing is hard for me. His caveats were to make it either A) about a character from “Camp Gethsemane” or B) an adaptation. Then he went and suggested Shakespeare. So, of course, I chose that. And now, by next Friday, I have to have “Macbeth” shortened to a 15-minute script.

It’s cool. I’ve already got 6.67% done. …So, you know… a page.

Guess who’ll be writing 14 pages next Thursday night!

Anyway, the reason I’m blathering on about all this instead of politicians is because there’s not much else to say. Can we please have more responsible politicians? Congress went into a five week recess today after a large period of doing absolutely nothing. Well, not absolutely nothing. The House Republicans, after all, attempted to repeal Obamacare over 30 times, even after it was approved as Constitutional.

So there’s that.

But then, there’s also this thing where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (so, a Democrat) said in an interview with Huffington Post that he was told by an unnamed source that Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years.

Pretty much everyone has been agreeing that was a silly thing to say with no proof. Granted, yes, Romney’s refusal to show his tax returns for a large chunk of time, proving his hypocrisy on the entire issue, is pretty ridiculous, and, yes, it invites a lot of postulating as to WHY he wouldn’t release them. But such postulations are better left vague, or within personal conversations. They probably shouldn’t be stated as though they were fact in an interview with a national publication. Though I will say, it’s quite ironic (pretty sure I’m using irony right) for Romney to tell Reid to “put up or shut up,” considering he’s the one that needs to put up in order to get everyone else to shut up.

And then, of course, there’s the fun bit where everyone is using this as a reason to attack President Barack Obama. You know, a guy wholly uninvolved with the entire affair.

It’s all rather childish. And makes me have to sit and just think, “Oy.”

Seriously. That’s my reaction to everything from these past few days. “Oy.”

…It’d be great if we didn’t have such childish people in the nation… Or, y’know, running it/attempting to run it.

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A Full Life Is A Happy Life?

I’m going to argue that the statement creating my post’s title is, from personal experience, not necessarily true… at least, not if “full” refers to the calendar. Things are, per usual, busy busy busy for me. We’re about a week out from our opening night for “Twelfth Night,” we being The Rude Mechanicals, and stage managing isn’t exactly the most laid back job in the world, even for a severely low tech amateur Shakespeare company.

Of course, The Rude Mechanicals and my actual job aren’t the only things that keep me busy. I’ve decided to already start in on my next work of writing, “Tormenting Tantalus.” It’s a show I’ve made mention of before, briefly, that will in theory be a one act play, but potentially part of a three part mythology trilogy. They can be performed as separate pieces, or as one go, and I know how to do the set up. I’ve had “Tormenting Tantalus” as a concept in my head for years now, about as many as “Camp Gethsemane,” but unlike that play, I’ve never really actually written anything on it.

…and now I have. And thanks to my friend David Bolus, it’s going to likely be super creepy and not a feel good play even at all. I mean, the cannibalism and infanticide make me guess that much (it IS the story of Tantalus, guys), but the setting and writing style I’ve adopted for the play certainly aren’t helping either. I’m a little worried about myself, actually. If writing it makes the author frightened, does that make the author a wuss, or is it legitimately kind of creepy at that point?

I vote for both.

Anyway, when I’m further in, I’m sure I’ll drop an excerpt. My writing style is so freaking different for this play than it was for the play I just wrote. It’s really kind of odd. Like, seriously, two different people are writing it.

And now everyone reading this thinks I’m psychotic. …eh, I’ve had worse thought of me.

This isn’t a play that will likely be performed any time soon… if ever… but I still want to write it. And by it, I mean them, because I want the entire trilogy. Once I figure out what the third part will be.

If you have a suggestion from Greco-Roman mythology for a gruesome, depressing tale that could be modernized, let me know. And please don’t say “Pyramus and Thisbe.” Shakespeare took care of that one twice over. I’m looking for a story that’s missing the “why” component. Why would Tantalus kill his child and feed him to the gods? Why would Prometheus risk his life for humans? Those.

…this is a long way of saying that I don’t have much to say tonight. Sorry. I don’t have much to say tonight. Except goodnight.


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100th Post – The Musical!

It’s my 100th post (and therefore almost 100th day since I’ve done a couple of double post days) with this blog. Easily the longest, best kept blog I’ve had since my slightly more emothetic LiveJournal days. …no, those days weren’t last week.

Anyway, it’s post 100! Which I think means I’m obligated to do a musical number or something. So TV has taught me. But I would never post videos of me singing solo, or in duets, or as a member of a larger group. That would be self serving. And I especially wouldn’t post videos of me doing comedy routines, funny impersonations or semi-dramatic scenes.

That’d just be weird.

Anyway, it seems Walmart has condemned me to working from 1 to 10 p.m. until trumpets sound or I’m driven mad and start eating all the produce.

Insane people can get hungry, too, y’all.

So, unless I get a post done earlier in the day, it’s not likely I’ll have anything really poignant to say. I mean, I didn’t get home until right at 11 p.m. tonight, and now I’m rushing to write a random post with random things I’ve thought of today.

Thank goodness no one expects me to say anything of merit.

I do finally have my review of “The Muppets” up on The Dome UA website. You can read it there, get the funny pictures and a link to an interesting video… or just wait until later this week when I post it here. Your choice.

And, totally random thing here, but sometimes I get random ideas for plays. They just pop into my head. Sometimes, it’s simply a title. For example, “Tormenting Tantalus” popped into my head after watching the Alpha Psi Omega Gamma Gamma cast perform my friend David Bolus’ one act play “Man Is Blue.” I have since then come up with a story for the play and actually written some of it out. Maybe one day I’ll finish.


Anyway, mythology often features in these random thoughts because, hey. I’m a bit of a mythology and religion dork. I study the stuff for fun.

This time, I had the random thought… You know the story of Prometheus? If you do, just skip ahead a bit. Prometheus was a Titan of Greek mythology who was one of the only Titans not imprisoned after Zeus and his fellow gods revolted against the Titans and took power over Olympus. Zeus kept Prometheus as an adviser. Prometheus kind of broke that trust and did humans a solid by stealing fire from the gods and giving it to man. Well, that kind of got Zeus pissy, so he chained Prometheus to a rock and condemned him to having an eagle eat his heart every single day. His heart would regenerate only for the eagle to swoop down and eat it again. This went on until Hercules randomly ran across him and broke the chains.

…so, a really long time.

And the thought occurred to me… what if that wasn’t literal? In Christianity, there are many stories told that aren’t meant to be taken literally. The book of Revelation, the dreams and prophecies of Isaiah and others, the parables of Christ… they’re figurative. Have a deeper meaning.

What if, instead of literally being tied to a rock and having his heart eaten daily… Zeus condemned Prometheus to falling in love?

Don’t know if you’ve ever been in love before. It can be really great when it’s returned. When it is rejected outright… Well… that sucks. A lot. I speak from experience. It’s a constant daily pain, especially if you’re often reminded of the person. And it’s much harder for some people to get over than others.

Anyway… I wonder if I can turn that into a story. A play or a movie or something. I have a title and everything: “Prometheus Bound.”

Cool, right? …wait, someone took that one already? …well, crap.

Okay, so no title yet… but I’ll work on it. Still, I thought it was an interesting idea that could be worked on. I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

Anyway. Enough rambling from me this time. Maybe tomorrow I’ll remember I work from 1 to 10 and write something at a reasonable time of day.

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