……my first self-published novel, I chose to set the time frame in 1978 (with occasional flashbacks to 1852). I did this in part because I didn’t want cellphones or the internet in the story. Technology that we find useful today would not have been useful in my story, which I had purposely left without a specific time-frame until an editor suggested I do so, because it wasn’t clear to her when the story took place.
Also, I was kind of lazy and didn’t want to adjust the story to suit the cellphone/internet. Which sent me to the library for books on the seventies, since I only had a rudimentary recollection of the decade I grew up in. The books, however meticulously researched, were deadly dull and did nothing to help me gain a clear picture.
So I did the next best thing – I turned to music. Going to my local music store (long since gone), I scoured their classic rock section for music specific to the seventies. There were a few disco CDs and, looking at the playlist on the back, I remembered ever single song playing on my mom’s VW hatchback.
Naturally, I bought them.
Which brings me to my Ancient Greek Comedy.
Apparently, music from the seventies fits right in with the chaotic hijinks of the gods and goddesses of ancient myths.
……where chaos reigns and ancient mythologies collide. And that’s on a good day.
Most of the characters are based on the Greek gods and goddesses, but as I revise the play, I’m paying more attention to other mythologies. I make reference to a number of them within the dialogue, but I actually want to have the other ancient mythologies represented. To do that, I’m looking to give them a voice and space.
Since the ancient gods and goddesses are archetypal (ex. Athena is an archetype of war and wisdom), I’ve tagged a couple of the speaking roles to change over to a different mythological god/dess. It’ll be interesting to see how that works out, especially among mythologies that aren’t as readily identifiable, like the Greeks or Romans. Archetypes are common throughout every culture and myth. One of the reasons the ancient mythologies and plays resonate today is because we can still see ourselves and circumstances in those archetypes thousands of years after they were first staged.
There is, naturally, a Chorus, because what ancient play – Greek, Roman, Egyptian, (fill in the blank) – doesn’t have a Chorus, the impartial conscience and voice of the play itself? Generally, the Chorus’s role in the ancient plays (particularly the Greek ones) served to comment on the action within the context of the play. My Chorus sings about the action, what the situation is and offers back-up to Hera and Juno when they discover that their philandering husbands are one and the same (for my purposes, Zeus is Zeus and created his Roman counter-part, Jupiter because his ego determined that he can).
And what ancient play is complete without music? This play was inspired by the music of the Eagles and music has always played a part in grounding my stories to a time and place and feeling. I even created mini-soundtracks for my screenplays, each song triggering a scene or a moment that demanded to be put down on paper.
But, while writing this play, I encountered a significant problem – I’m not a musician and I don’t know how to write song lyrics. How am I to incorporate music into this play, other than to use and pay royalty fees for previously recorded music?
Fortunately, I am blessed to know several local musicians who have become very dear friends over the last few years. During a conversation about my play, I mentioned my concern over how to incorporate music. Unanimously, they said, “We’ll do it, all you need to do is ask, and it’s done.”
So now I have music and possible lyrics. I promised to have my song ideas for them upon completion of this current revision. My goal now is to find the right places for the songs to go and carry the story forward.
I have the feeling, however, that Zeus will make every effort to make it all about him. Because that’s his nature.
…….which can also play CDs and cassette tapes. There’s an FM tuner (I somehow found the oldies station) and I can connect it to the Blue tooth on my cellphone and play music from the app feature. All of which I’m learning and it’s fun.
I’ve been playing some of my old records, a collection that I’ve both inherited from friends and purchased on my own. I’m particularly enjoying Scott Joplin’s ragtime music. Hopefully, I can find some old vinyls of Robert Johnson and Louis Armstrong, because music like that needs to be heard analog-style, if not live.
It’s relaxing and soothing and I find that I feel more alert and productive. Music can soothe, arouse, inspire, and invigorate.