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Book Image Not Available
Book details
  • Genre:DRAMA
  • SubGenre:General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:51
  • eBook ISBN:9781626750838

Preface To "Meet The Fractals"

by Derek Strahan

Book Image Not Available
Overview
This Preface is 50 pages long. Why a Preface? Too long? There is precedent for writing a long preface to a theater play. G. B. Shaw’s Prefaces were written to engage his readers’ interest in the play’s central topic and in the dialectic that was at the basis of the drama. Invariably the themes Shaw chose were of social interest, and the prefaces were polemic in nature. This sobriety of purpose never deterred Shaw from imbuing his plays with humor, whimsy and lively dramatic conflict. He incurred the wrath of his Fabian associates who disapproved of what they took to be levity. What they failed to appreciate was that you can’t use drama for preaching. If you have a cause to promote, an option to explore, a paradox to unravel, you must give equal representation to opposing viewpoints otherwise there is no drama! I openly acknowledge my admiration for Shaw, and my desire to emulate his model. I always found Shaw’s Prefaces to be thoroughly engaging, but it was not until I embarked on writing “Meet The Fractals” that I found writing a Preface to be an absolute necessity. It was through writing the Preface that I found the arguments, the plot and the characters. As the Preface discloses, this is the story of a group of people who, each for different reasons, have decided that monogamy is an outmoded custom because it is more honoured in the breach than in the observance. As statics reveal, fifty per cent of all marriages fail! The union lasts only “until divorce do us part”. In “Meet The Fractals” you will meet ten people, five of each gender, who decide to apply the theories of quantum physics to living. They commit to a group marriage: an extreme form of polyamory. They accept that human sexuality is in essence, chaotic, and this chaos is better managed by accepting it than resisting it. The play covers only the first 48 hours of their meeting and their deliberations, during which time they have to ward off attacks by an ambitious politician and an angry puritan
Description
This is the story of a group of ten people, five of each gender, who, each for different reasons, have decided that monogamy is an outmoded custom because it is more honoured in the breach than in the observance and that, therefore, adherence to its moral codes and the customs that support it leads to the living of a life based on dishonesty, deceit and hypocrisy both in outward behaviour and in the secret labyrinth of each individual’s subconscious. I began intending to write this story in the form of a play, but, having decided on that approach, I soon found that to apply it requires a great deal more preparation in terms of structure, and cast of characters than would either a comedy or a tragedy based on humanity’s favourite fable: the love triangle, with its predictable personal geometry and its participatory circle of advisors, onlookers and spurned lovers. Therefore I have to write the preface to the play before writing the play, which is, perhaps, an inversion of the usual order where the preface is written after the play as an apology for it. My need to begin work by writing the preface to an as yet unwritten play arose from the need to bring some order to the chaos of issues that arises from its central proposition: that the human race would benefit from a less dogmatic attitude to the formation of domestic units in which personal bonding and procreation are interwoven through socio-biological cause and effect and embedded in law and common morality. A slight change of moral outlook becomes the fractal that changes the entire geometry of the future. Or so they suppose. Love is often described as a game. We play the “game of love”, hoping to win. But against whom? Against rivals who try to lay claim to our proposed partner? Or to win in games of dominance played with our partner once the primal choice is made? Or against fate, to maintain the partnership against all odds? Over the centuries dramatists have certainly taken the game of wooing and winning seriously, since this opening stage of the game has always attracted the most serious attention of the audience. That same audience has tended to view married life following the initial romance as the subject for comedy, even farce, as witness the vogue throughout Europe during the 18th century for “revolving door” bedroom comedies dealing with marital infidelities. This changed somewhat during the 19th century with the new vogue for “realism” in both the novel and in drama, especially opera, where tragic outcomes were common. Fashions revolve too, and in the 20th century, in film and TV sitcoms, married life again became the butt of humour. And so, given the choice of dark tragedy or absurdist humour, I opted for the latter in writing this play about group marriage for, as in all previous variants of the game of love, where dissembling and evasion become tactical necessities, there is nothing funnier than revealed truth. In “Meet The Fractals” you will meet ten people, five of each gender, who decide to apply the theories of quantum physics to living. They commit to a group marriage: an extreme form of polyamory. They accept that human sexuality is in essence, chaotic, and this chaos is better managed by accepting it than resisting it. The play covers only the first 48 hours of their meeting and their deliberations, during which time they have to ward off attacks by an ambitious politician and an angry puritan. But before the mischief of the play, the earnest enquiry of the Preface.
About the author
Derek Strahan was born in Penang, Malaysia on May 28th 1935, and spent his early childhood in colonial Malaysia. He was evacuated with his mother and sister to Perth, W.A. when Singapore fell to the Japanese in February 1942. In 1946 the Strahans settled in Northern Ireland and Derek completed his schooling in Belfast. In 1952 he attended Cambridge University on a scholarship studying for an arts degree in modern languages. (French and Spanish). He also further developed his interest in theatre cinema and music, and acted in a number of university productions. He graduated in 1954 and worked in London for the next six years as relief teacher, actor, singer-songwriter and assistant film director making commercials. In 1961 Strahan returned to Australia and settled in Sydney for 2 years. He then worked in TV in NZ from 1964 to 1966 writing and directed documentaries. The year 1967 was spent in the UK, visiting family and teaching. He then returned to Sydney and has remained here. A period of teaching for the NSW Department of Education in Sydney (1968–70) was combined with writing music for numerous wild life documentaries and writing songs for live performance and on TV. He has remained in Sydney where he functions in several aligned capacities as opportunities arise: writer, composer of film and concert music, film director, film and record producer and actor. As a writer Strahan worked for 3 years (1964-66) scripting and directing documentary film features for New Zealand television including a 6-part series on Sir Edmund Hilary’s aid work in the Himalayas. He then worked for 5 years as contract scriptwriter for the TV serial “Number 96” (1970-75). He also wrote episodes for “Cop Shop”, “Glenview High”, “Chopper Squad”, “Carrots!” (a children’s’ program on Channel 7), and “Flying Start” in 1986 (ABC program on small business). He also scripted corporate videos for Broadcom. Three feature films have been produced from his scripts “Leonora” (1985), released on video, cable in US & Europe, and shown on Channel 9 in 1996; “Fantasy” (1990), Columbia Tri-Star video, and “Inspector Shanahan Mysteries – Cult of Diana”(1992), shown on Channel 9 in 1996. He directed “Leonora” and co-directed “Fantasy” with Geoffrey Brown for Combridge International, and also wrote music for these three features. His 1-Act play “Triple Six” was staged as a drama student qualifying production at Newcastle University in the early 1990s. In between scriptwriting projects he has written a conserable body of music for film and concert performance much of which has been released on CD and is frequently broadcast. Four theater plays are posted at BookBaby: “Eden In Atlantis” “Takeover” “Bullet-Proof Pyjamas” “Sodom and Tomorrow”. As lecturer and assessor in scriptwriting, Strahan has previously worked (1982 to 84) for the AFTRS as script assessor, and has given 8 and 16 week courses in scriptwriting for the (then) NSW Institute of Technology and for the Australian Film and TV School in Bathurst Street, Sydney. From 2004 he has worked for the Australian Writers Guild having assessed over 150 scripts.
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