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For those noble Brojans who have been with us since 2011, you might be expecting our upcoming show to be a restaging of the original "Amphion" from our 2011 BROS Double Feature – and if this idea seems boring to you then we're happy to say that this is a brand new retelling of that story. This new version of "Amphion" was edited largely in part by local writer Dave K, and he published an article describing some of his goals and challenges in tackling our original script. Here's an excerpt:
"If you’ve never written for the stage before, the formatting constraints can be frustrating. Much like a screenplay, you have to leave certain scenic/visual details vague to allow for free interpretation from the director and actors, but stageplays have to allow for different venue layouts, as well. Theatres come in all shapes and sizes, especially in the DIY community, and elaborate stage directions can get in the way if the piece is produced in a space that can’t support them.
What you are left with is character arcs, tone, and dialogue under your direct control as a writer. It’s like trying to cover an AC/DC song; the limited variables make it seem easy, but the lack of things to hide behind creates unexpected challenges.
Granted, I was revising an existing script, which is easier than conjuring a new one, but there were still plenty of hurdles. When this show was originally produced, BROS was a new theatre company rehabilitating a venue that was literally crumbling at their feet. To say that the script suffered for that distraction would be an understatement; the love story had no dramatic tension, the negotiation scenes went on way too long and made no sense, and there were too many secondary and tertiary ideas being thrown around without allowing time to develop them. Also, frankly, there weren’t enough dad jokes in the script. These were all things that I was brought in to amend.
Other, more fundamental changes were made as well. We added the character of Justinian’s wife Theodora, a real and totally awesome person whose absence from the original script was a huge oversight, and changed Amphion’s gender from male to female, thinking that a lesbian love story would do three things: a) add a third major female character to the show, thereby making it more inclusive, b) raise the stakes of the love story that was the show’s major selling point, c) tell a kind of story we’d never told before. Over the course of three months, I made those changes, treating those characters as respectfully as I could, showing what I’d done to people with good critical judgment and uncompromising honesty, and doing my best to not sound like a complete idiot.
In fact, those changes were what I was most excited about. It may seem suspicious, and even insensitive, for a straight, white man to think himself capable of writing what are essentially Middle Eastern lesbian characters with any kind of gracefulness, and I’m expecting to take some heat for even trying. It’s heat I’m willing to accept, however. These kinds of stories are worth telling, and we need to get better at them. At the risk of sounding like a millennial Yogi Berra, the only way to do that is to do it."