Written by Philip Powell
Illustration by Tom BarkerPerformed by Philip Powell, Tommy Trull, Melanie Wallace, Jim McKeny, Billy Christiansen, Tom Barker
Verse bored me. It was my dirty little secret. E-Gads! My snobby friends would have shunned me. By randomly quoting snippets of Moliere I avoided their suspicion. But internally, verse made my eyes roll.
Until, I read "Le Bete" by David Hirson, wonderful play written in the late 80's that had rhyming verse. What was different? It was a modern playwright who had written something for a modern audience. I had been fooled all those years when reading Shakespeare or similar. I thought it was the verse that I didn't care for. But come to find out, the problem was all the anachonistic language. It got in the way of my comprehending the text. Once I actually understood what was being said, verse and I became fast friends.
This piece started out as a script for a NYC 24 hour film contest. The story had to be about a clown, at a party…oh…and it had to be in rhyming verse. So, I ripped out a few verses…but we ultimately went in a different direction. There it sat on my desktop for two years. Until a tag line hit me out of the blue one day. “A tale of stolen fingers” I mused “who would have to the most to lose if his fingers were stolen?” A magician I suppose. Hmmm..that sounds a bit like that piece I started a few years back.” The rhyming verse was already in place so I just went with it.
I learned a lot during the process. The confines were good, as I had to think very carefully about what I was doing. Every word was precious. I had 12 syllables per line, all of their accents had to hit the beat, it had to rhyme…oh, and manage to be funny. Prose never seemed so liberating.
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Written by Philip PowellPerformed by Philip Powell, Tommy Trull, Melanie Wallace, Jim McKeny, Billy Christiansen, Tom Barker
is available now in issue 14 of Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show