I tried writing this back in 2010, but I abandoned it because I never found a way around this thorny problem. I've had some ideas since, and also seen some truly dreadful local plays to motivate me, but none of the ideas are perfectly satisfactory.
So here's the basic structure:
- Act I: The main character's dark and twisty backstory.
- Act I Ia: His past catches up with him, much to his uninformed wife's dismay.
- Act I Ib: He tries running from that past one last time, which ends up herding him toward his own murder.
Act I Ia
is giving me all the trouble. It absolutely cannot stand as written, because a) it's too long, and Act I Ib
deserves the weight; and b) it would confuse everyone as to what the focus of the story should be. Trust me on this one.
But there are only so many ways to make Act I Ia shorter
. In addition, I have to have the main character fake his own death so as to fool the audience.
So here are the three options I've come up with:
1) You open on the main character's alleged corpse. (We're employing Identical Stranger
here - identical from the neck down, anyway - and hoping there's a competent casting director.) The police figure that his wife has to be responsible, and he is forced to throw himself on their sword to spare her a trial.
- Satisfactory amount of suspense.
- I really don't think the evidence against the wife would stand up in court.
2) You see the main character attacked by the Identical Stranger
and arranging the faking of his death with his wife. The rest of Act I Ia
is spent with him locked up in a preacher hole while his wife keeps him posted and tries to deal with the fact that she basically didn't know who her husband was.
- The shortest option.
- The most respectful of the source material.
- The least suspenseful option.
- Too tight a focus on the main character.
3) You open on the main character's alleged corpse. One of the investigators has inside information on the murder plot, and so leads the investigation to the fraud in leaps and bounds.
- Excellent supporting cast exposure.
- Most suspenseful.
- The longest option.
- So disrespectful of the source material, I feel like Demeter on bat wings.
So, I will wait to see how you toss it around before I come to a decision on the matter.
edited 1st Jan '13 1:12:35 PM by DomaDoma