Tag Archives: Lorae Parry

16. The Bus

From my desk in the bus

From my desk in the bus

This fortnight living in a bus in a old mate’s garden-by-the-sea is a small commitment; I’m here partly because she’s working on an idea that includes portraits and dress-ups and conversations with other old mates and me. But, alas, it’s disrupted my commitment to finishing the Throat of These Hours radio play by the end of September (followed by the stage play at end November). I enjoy the bus and the sociability, and much of my time’s my own, but the wheels of my work day don’t turn. I planned to go home with the third draft good-to-go for a reading-with-actors. I don’t think that’ll happen.

But the good news is that I now have three posts on the Muriel Rukeyser Living Archive site. I like writing them because they make me think about aspects of what I’m writing that otherwise I’d take for granted. And re-examine where I’m going. They’re also an opportunity to celebrate the beautiful women who contribute to the plays’ development, especially Christine White as the composer and the actors Madeline McNamara and Lorae Parry, who have read twice for me – some of the stage play on film and all of the second draft of the radio play.

Here’s the first one, with clips of Chris White’s composition-in-progress for Muriel Rukeyser’s The Speed of Darkness and a scene between the two main characters, played by Madeline and Lorae. The second one, ‘Throat of These Hours: The Verifiable & The Unverifiable’  is about my research process and includes a clip of Chris’ composition-in-progress for Muriel Rukeyser’s Then. And the latest one, ‘From The Shaky Isles’, reports on the reading of the second draft of Throat of These Hours as a radio play, follows the latest large earthquake in Wellington and refers to some of the subtext to the work. It includes Estuary, a poem by Hinemoana Baker and Chris, and a clip of them singing Beautiful Thing, a tribute to New Zealand writer Jacquie Sturm.

The next confirmed Throat of These Hours ‘event’ is an interview on Wellington’s lesbian radio programme on Access Radio, with Prue Hyman, Sunday 22 September.

15. The Muriel Rukeyser Living Archive

Delighted to be invited to post at the Muriel Rukeyser Living Archive, once a month for four months.  Here’s the first one.  It has a clip of the first scene Lorae Parry and Madeline McNamara read for the Rukeyser Symposium. And another clip of Christine White performing her composition for The Speed of Darkness, the Rukeyser poem that inspired me to write the stage play and now the radio play.

And, if you’d like to, you can join the project’s Facebook page, which focuses on Muriel Rukeyser news as well as the plays.

12. Taking Throat of These Hours to the States

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Struan Ashby and Jess Charlton prepare to film Chris White

1. Preparation

I want to take Throat of These Hours to the United States, take my response to Muriel ‘back home’ to her place, even though her work belongs to all the world. So the Muriel Rukeyser Centenary Symposium was a great place to start and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to give a Skype presentation. And I wanted to show the work-in-progress, not just to talk about it. A filmed reading and performance of Chris White’s songs was the only way.

Two weeks before this morning’s presentation at the symposium, I finished the second draft of the Throat of These Hours and – with my beloved writing buddy – chose three related extracts to film. Found the cast and crew, all people I love working with or wanted to work with. Made a date to film seventeen pages of dialogue in three continuous chunks; and two associated songs. Max Schleser organised a perfect space for us at Massey University – a mixing suite that looks a bit like a radio station – and some equipment. Suggested three students to work with us.

Friday a week ago Chris White emailed through her settings for two Rukeyser poems. I listened to them and wept. So beautiful.

Then, last Tuesday , we spent the morning filming Chris performing her compositions. And the afternoon filming three related scenes. An intense adjustment, moving from solitary writer to producer (location, equipment, payment, food) and then to directing. And I didn’t get some of it right, as when as director I forgot to give the conventional cues – not quite the same as the ‘Everyone ready? Yep? Action–‘ from last year’s 48 Hours competition;  I even (blush) forgot to say ‘cut’ now and then.

But worst of all, I repeated a mistake I made three years ago, with Development-the-movie. The longest sustained shoots I’ve been part of were for a fast-turnaround children’s television series, where the rule of thumb was that a page of script equalled a minute on screen. And that became heavily embedded in my consciousness, with serious consequences for Development. How did I not remember? John Conly, who did a wonderful job on set with the sound, with assistance from students Mon Patel and Nathan Foon, took the footage away to assemble on his own. Then brought it to me on Thursday for the hour he had available. The assembly was thirty-seven minutes long, for a presentation to last an hour, and include an intro and a Q & A. As John said, we’d shot almost half a feature in a single day. No wonder we were tired, though we started at 8.30 and finished at 4.30. Please, let me remember for ever-and-always that my writing takes two minutes per page on screen. Continue reading