Scene Chart

Who or what is the subject or character here? Where or from where is the character speaking? In what time or temporal dimension? And ultimately, what is the subject doing here? These are the questions on the top of my chart. Charting the scene, this is the first task, no matter who or what the subject-character is. S/he or it can well remain unnamed for now. By the second or third scene, naming will have been performed. For I propose to think of these sections as, perhaps unsurprisingly for a playwright, scenes. Thirty scenes divided into four acts, the first of which starts here. Charting the scene is, in fact, charting the situation, as situation is where writing commences. Writing is situational, no matter how reluctant it is to admit it. So one must consider, moving further into the chart, tensions, conflicts, and inner conflicts, all things subject-characters are rarely without. The tension here is plain to see, as lack of names to fill this chart. Without actors, the scene has yet to begin. And perhaps this first scene will not begin at all. We are, after all, in the safe haven of the prologue. Therefore we will be deprived also of the conflicts and inner antagonisms, except as they play out here in this monological-yet-subjectless text. (We, I take it, has to denote we the spectators of this unraveling.) Shifts in power relationships, or simply power shifts, positioned in the upper mid part of the chart, bring us not only to the core areas of the scene, but to its ancient structure, Aristoteles’ tripartite with its beginning, middle, and end. They occupy the centermost part of the chart. What remains below them is the structuring of the incessant neediness of dramatic characters, in the form of blunt questions. What do the characters want from each other? How do they go about getting what they desire? What is their weapon, attitude, position, and posture? (A column for cease-fire is nowhere to be found.) Finally, the very last line of the chart is reserved for what is purportedly the most compelling facet of acting: the difference between characters’ thought and action. What are they hiding, concealing? Who is speaking here? With these questionable parameters of drama I begin.

OH