The madness of Tim Curry (see title) is a special kind of insanity. It’s the true actor’s gift — the ability to be fully invested in whatever scene and character you are performing at the time. For example, watch this:
Um… yes. Thank you, Tim Curry.
I watch this video (which, by the way, was the inspiration for Harry Potter) and I think of writing theater and writing scripts (as I do) that verge on (or wholly embrace) the absurd. In these scripts, though the story and the world of the play may be absurd, the characters themselves are not meant to be. The actors must take the roles and perform them with utter sincerity for the play (and the humor of the play) to work.
I make it sound like this way of writing plays was the plan from the beginning. If it were, it might make the writing of them (and producing of them) much easier. What happened is that I fell in love with writers like Durang and Ionesco and Stoppard and their sensibilities bled into my own, absurdity through osmosis, absurdity that — even though inane and clearly unreal — will be effective and affecting because, even in this absurd world, the emotions are real.
True, that might be hard to claim about the clip above. What are the emotions of a wizard/warlock overseeing the Halloween flight of a school of witches? Apparently, madness, which is not so much an emotion as an oh-god-keep-that-crazy-man-away-from-me.
In my writing (the process itself, not the finished product), language begets language. In plays, dialogue begets dialogue, and the characters are both led by and lead the dialogue (and therefore the play) forward. But the only way this can work is through actors who are convinced that, whenever they speak, what they’re saying is true.
Even if it’s a lie.
Which it often is.
Or is it?