The Many Faces of a Story Arc

Inspiration can often come from unexpected places. I often marvel at how unconnected events can somehow draw together to inform the creative spirit. Let me explain.

I’m currently watching the Farscape series for the first time. For those unfamiliar, Farscape was a sci-fi television show that featured, among other things, a lot of Jim Henson muppets. (Star Trek could have learned a thing or two in this department). The premise of the show is that aliens from different circumstances, who didn’t really know each other well, are thrown together in an environment where they have to work together, and an ever-evolving set of relationships unfolds.

I think about what’s happening with Causality right now. We have four unique, distinctive characters who seemingly have nothing in common except their circumstances. Seeing the bonds that are already forming just makes me want to see more! I’ve been trying to craft dialogue that leaves relationship definitions a little vague: forcing interaction, not emotion, I suppose. We’re giving the actor opportunities to find what those relationships are organically, and Ty has been magnificent in giving them multiple avenues to explore.

The second place unexpected inspiration came from was a bar meeting I had this past week with someone I’ve only recently met. I walked out of that meeting feeling energized and invigorated, having a much better idea of how to structure the future of the script. I think I was picturing it too much like this:

Image A

Writing to a decision point, then making a conscious decision over what the decision would be…it’s too rigid. It limits the creative process, and robs the audience of a truer outcome to their choice. But I didn’t really understand that until I saw it like this:

Image BStories can and will intersect at those “joining points,” I imagine, but we’ll start with a straight story arc first, then identify the decision points that lead to audience choices. I’m curious to discover if those decisions will be obvious, pedestrian or somewhere in between.

This second tree also speaks more directly to the title of our project. We can better control what the “defining factors” are for a cause; let them come from a more natural place. That “natural place” is the same reason that we’re trying to let these characters define their own relationships, to an extent. They may not be beneficial relationships, but they will be understood relationships, murky as some may be.

I think many of us are past the age where we wish to see our unique selves represented on the stage, but we do still hope to see something that speaks to us, or (as possible) represents us to some small extent. Now, I can’t promise that there will be someone on that stage that speaks to you, but I can promise that their choices will. Audiences will be asked to put themselves in the shoes of the character and make a choice. For that choice to have meaning, there have to be believable, real characters behind those choices. Those we have.

We won’t be asking audiences to make moral judgments, and we’ll do our best to present our choices as balanced as possible. Audiences won’t be voting on what they, as audience members, would choose. Rather, they will be asked to vote as the character, with what they’ve seen and read so far as their guide.

The Causality journey has been rewarding and insightful so far, and I look forward to the day when you can share in our fun on stage.

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