Friday, April 15, 2005

Harmonic Convergence

As I noted in Writing on Writing, I use music a lot in my plays, either as part of the story or in my head as I write. It's ironic because the only musical instrument I play with any decency is the guitar, and it's enough to get me through some campfire sing-alongs. I can sing fairly well -- I was in the choir at St. George's (I can't listen to Vivaldi's Gloria any more without having a flashback, and not a good one), and I passed the mandatory vocal classes in my theatre studies. I have a piano in the living room; a 1929 Mason & Hamlin baby grand that belonged to my grandmother, and when it's tuned, I can thump out some tunes if they're in C and I can chord with my left hand. Anyway...

Can't Live Without You was the first play I wrote that did not have music in it other than a quick reference to Donny turning on the stereo as he wrote (much as I do). Then last week when I was doing the revisions, I had an idea that was sparked by another little element: the Three Little Words. The effect that had worked in the novel came into play here, and it led to the addition of nearly two pages of dialogue between Donny and Bobby, and in what can only be considered a harmonic convergence (pun intended), a song came to mind that fit in so well I was amazed that I thought of it. (Of course, like most things it had been right in front of me for a very long time; I just needed to see it.)

The three little words were, "Where's the Mustang?" The music? Well... you'll have to read the play to find out. (And no, it's not "Mustang Sally." Not even close.) All I can say is that it works perfectly, and if I ever direct a production of it (or work with the director), it will make perfect exit music.

I love how things like that work out.


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