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Author Topic:   Great Plays - First Line
CyrusWeinstein
Director

Posts: 241
From:New York, NY
Registered: Apr 2000

posted August 02, 2000 12:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for CyrusWeinstein   Click Here to Email CyrusWeinstein     Edit/Delete Message
Yes, I am the Publishing guy, but I'm quite sure I know as much about the Theatre as Mr. Rubidoux and I definitely see more theatre than he does. This is a topic for the FIRST line of dialogue of the great plays. The point is to show how the masters gently or boldly launch us into their worlds.

My choice tonight:
Chekov, The Seagull: "Why do you always wear black?"

Oh, and you know I would love to throw out that classic second line - but I won't. Let's hear your favorites, online maniacs.

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edgarallanpoe
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Posts: 42
From:Baltimore, MD
Registered: May 2000

posted August 02, 2000 07:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for edgarallanpoe   Click Here to Email edgarallanpoe     Edit/Delete Message
Nora: Hide the Christmas Tree carefully, Helen.
-- Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House

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Malvolio
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Posts: 85
From:Ashland, Oregon
Registered: May 2000

posted August 03, 2000 12:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Malvolio   Click Here to Email Malvolio     Edit/Delete Message
Richard: Old John of Gaunt, time-honored Lancaster,
Hast thoug according to thy oath and band
Brought hither Henry Hereford, thy bold son,
Here to make good the boist'rous late appeal,
Which then our leisure would not let us hear,
Against the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?"
- Shakespeare, Richard II

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cstengel
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posted August 03, 2000 01:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cstengel   Click Here to Email cstengel     Edit/Delete Message
Melinda: (calling sweetly) How-ard!

Inherit the Wind - Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

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cstengel
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posted August 03, 2000 01:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cstengel   Click Here to Email cstengel     Edit/Delete Message
Linda: Willy!

Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller

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cstengel
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posted August 03, 2000 01:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cstengel   Click Here to Email cstengel     Edit/Delete Message
My point being that, while I think this is an interesting experiment, this and the thread on books' first lines seems to lead one to conclude that, more often that not (especially in modern more 'realistic' writing), the first line is simply a sentence or fragment supporting a larger idea.

Most first lines, even in some of the great works cited, aren't usually anything significant in and of themselves. They're not even usually that poetic (which seems to be what the search is assuming - that great works somehow start with a great 'kick ass' sentence). Instead, I think we are finding that they primarily simply support the larger piece.

Now a first paragraph, speech, etc., is a little different in that it has space enough to express some point of view. But too often these first sentences seem to be neither interesting nor an irreplacable foundation for the story to follow.

I'd wager that the last lines of these plays and books carry a more significant message than any of the openings.

Just my two cents. Still interested in seeing what everyone comes up with. (Again, however, I don't think pulling long often unpunctuated run-on passages from Shakespeare and Greek tragedies is a fair comparison.)

[This message has been edited by cstengel (edited August 03, 2000).]

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CyrusWeinstein
Director

Posts: 241
From:New York, NY
Registered: Apr 2000

posted August 03, 2000 08:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for CyrusWeinstein   Click Here to Email CyrusWeinstein     Edit/Delete Message
Wrong, CStengel. The point of the first line of books thread is to show that the first line DOESN'T NEED to be poetic. It's to show writers that the first line should not be a STUMBLING BLOCK. So many people get stuck on thinking they need a home run first sentence in order to capture a reader's attention. And based on many of the works cited, they don't. THAT'S the experiment. So you're right to assume that it's just not that compelling but refreshing. So many people think they have to come up with a "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

Last lines would be a great topic, for films, novels and plays.

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IronGiant
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Posts: 24
From:Seattle, WA
Registered: Jun 2000

posted August 05, 2000 11:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for IronGiant   Click Here to Email IronGiant     Edit/Delete Message
Mrs. Zero [as she takes down her hair]: I'm gettin' sick o' them Westerns.

Elmer Rice - The Adding Machine

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EthanRubidoux
Director

Posts: 101
From:Bel Air, CA
Registered: Apr 2000

posted August 14, 2000 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for EthanRubidoux   Click Here to Email EthanRubidoux     Edit/Delete Message
"Your family is dead!"
Soviet Guard to character played by Joey Levitch in Gulag! A New Musical - opening October 9, 2000 at the Clara Bow Theatre in New York.

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shaoqui
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Posts: 137
From:North Hollywood
Registered: May 2000

posted September 05, 2000 07:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for shaoqui   Click Here to Email shaoqui     Edit/Delete Message
That's a horrible first line!

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EthanRubidoux
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From:Bel Air, CA
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posted September 12, 2000 03:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for EthanRubidoux   Click Here to Email EthanRubidoux     Edit/Delete Message
It is a devastating opening line! This was the Gulag. It wasn't a picnic, you know.

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shaoqui
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From:North Hollywood
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posted September 21, 2000 09:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for shaoqui   Click Here to Email shaoqui     Edit/Delete Message
It also WASN'T A MUSICAL!!

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EthanRubidoux
Director

Posts: 101
From:Bel Air, CA
Registered: Apr 2000

posted December 12, 2000 12:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for EthanRubidoux   Click Here to Email EthanRubidoux     Edit/Delete Message
"Les Miserables", "Phantom of the Opera", "Miss Saigon" - these are all stories that have devastating moments and we're turned into musicals and audiences cried and loved the shows. "Gulag" is just that kind of show. It's now opening mid-January, 2001! See it before you throw out your opinion!

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HollywoodProducer
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Posts: 2194
From:La Canada
Registered: Jun 2000

posted February 15, 2001 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message
"White, a blank page or canvas..."
Sunday In the Park With George

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stupididiot
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Posts: 24
From:Bum Fuck, Egypt
Registered: Feb 2001

posted February 23, 2001 09:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stupididiot   Click Here to Email stupididiot     Edit/Delete Message
My children, latest-born to Cadmus who was of old, why are you set before me thus with wreathed branches of suppliants, while the city reeks with incense, rings with prayers for health and cries of woe?

Oedpipus The King, Sophocles

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