I'm now about half way through creating the first draft of this. It's my first attempt at a play and I think this is very much a first draft. I worry a little that it may have a few too many scenes and some tricky set changes, though I see it on an abstract and minimalist stage.
There is a fairly large cast but there are many minor parts that can be covered by a chorus.
Might it work better as a radio play?
All to be looked at and all up for debate.
In any case, it is intriguing how the narrative translates into dialogue and a few stage directions. Inner monologue from the novel is replaced by acting in the play.
The voice that speaks to Renate at the end of some scenes I'm giving to an actor who actually comes on as a Nazi officer. The same actor must play the benign border official in one of the final scenes.
Today I wrote the scene where Renate looks for him but in the novel doesn't see him. In the play he comes on stage but does not speak. I've posted that scene below. Let me know what you think.
ANNE , CHRISTINE, CHORUS and THE HAIRDRESSER are in a bathroom. RENATE is sitting in front of a mirror. Her eyes are closed and she has her hands over her eyes. Her hair has now been cut into a modern bob. She has a towel around her shoulder. There is hair on the floor.
CHRISTINE: There, you can look now. Open your eyes.
RENATE takes her hands away from her face and looked in the mirror. She gasps.
HAIRDRESSER: You do like it, don’t you?
GIRL 1. It looks really lovely. Don’t you think so, Renate?
ANNE: Will you cut mine like that?
HAIRDRESSER: Yes, of course. But maybe you’d better come to the salon. She looks down at the hair all over the bathroom floor.
CHRISTINE. Oh, don’t worry about that. We’ll soon clear it all up.
HAIRDRESSER You’re really lucky that you have such a nice natural wave. It will be easy to keep it like that. You’ll just need to set it each time you wash it.
CHRISTINE: You’re not saying much, Renate. Don’t you like it?
RENATE: Of course I do. It’s lovely.
ANNE: It makes you look really pretty.
HAIRDRESSER: Well, I’m glad you’re pleased.
NURSE: enters centre stage. Goodness. She looks first at the floor and then at Renate. Girls, you need to finish up now. And tidy up this mess. Renate needs to get some rest.
CHRISTINE: Oh, we’ll do this very quickly. Do you have a dustpan and brush?
NURSE: Follow me. She hesitates as she goes to exit centre stage and turns back to Renate. It makes you look so English. It really suits you. THE NURSE and CHRISTINE exit centre stage.
RENATE looks back at her reflection. Then she looks around. The lights dim and the other girls freeze. The NAZI OFFICER appears briefly stage left but he doesn't speak. RENATE stares at him. He blinks then exits again stage left. Lights come up again fully.
CHRISTINE: enters centre stage. Still admiring yourself? Come on girls. She hands the dustpan to Anne and the brush to GIRL 1. Let’s get this cleared up before matron has fifty fits.
RENATE: Thank you for thinking of this.