Sunday, 28 October 2007
BEHIND THE PAINT
I have been sending out copies of the new POSSESSED script to producers and directors.
I am amazed that I can still slip back into the world of the musical again and write for the characters as if it were the first time, but somehow this is possible. It is as if they were contained within a room in my mind and I only need to revisit it to see and hear them again. The most important thing that came out of all this was that Jane, the main character, has more of a voice now than she ever had before. The research into the story produced less of her character than anyone else. She had been hidden behind the artists and their world. Even Lizzie Siddal had more of a voice than she did, through her art and poetry.
Although the Jane I have written about is based on my research, there were far more decisions I had to make about the choices she made in her life, why she made them and how she felt. It was not enough to take on face value the woman the artists were trying to portray because the woman they painted was an ideal and not her. Even the photographs of her were very posed. Many of the people who met her and wrote about her, like Henry James and George Bernard Shaw, were writing about the carefully constructed social persona that she performed for the outside world. The closest I came to discovering the real woman, was through the writing of her other lover, Wilfred Scawen Blunt.
Luckily, I have never stopped liking Jane. When I was working on GROCk, (based on the life of the clown), I began to grow disenchanted with him. He was interesting, but I did not really like him as a person by the end. Sitting, chained to a desk in Petersfield, doing rewrites for the Chichester production I felt as if I had brought some monstrous creature to life. I don't think I will ever feel this about Jane Burden.
Above is the picture Rossetti painted of her, entitled Water Willow, dated 1871, now owned by the Delaware Art Museum. In the background to the left you can just see Kelmscott Manor.
Posted by Teresa Howard at Sunday, October 28, 2007