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Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Quality of Marcy

One of the least popular features of this blog has been the entries in which I update progress on various scripts and describe the history of the composition of them. Today I continue this tradition of disinterest with an update on a script called "The Quality of Marcy."

"The Quality of Marcy" started out some years ago as an idea that my wife had for a short story. Hers was a dark story of betrayal and forgiveness concerning two sisters. When she told me the idea, I immediately jumped on it, and told her that I thought it made a good basis for a play and one with a lot of comedy at that. My vision of it didn't quite square with hers, though, and I sort of backed down and Stephanie sort of put it to one side.

The topic came up from time-to-time, though, and eventually we decided that I would just go ahead and write my version of it and that she might write her version still at some other time. (I think it would be interesting if she did. It's unlikely that the two would be recognizable as having come from the same idea. Fraternal twins instead of identical.)

I started thinking about it seriously about three-and-a-half years ago and then started to write it as a stage play shortly thereafter. A big chunk just popped out right off the bat, and I thought the writing of this script would be a breeze. I was wrong.

Another big chunk came and then nothing. I decided to try it as a radio play, converted the format and got a little more. Then nothing. It accumulated in fits and starts over three years. I thought about changing it back into a stage play, but never got around to reformatting it. I put it aside while I finished other scripts and then decided to shelve it for consideration as part of the first season of "Next in the Series."

But things changed.

I'm not sure what happened, really. It was too short to be a play, but it looked like I could keep it short enough to stay within an hour format. It was almost done. My wife liked what she had read. It was more of a drama than any of the other scripts, but still not quite an evening of O'Neill. (Although I have, for some years, played around with an idea that would have more of an Ibsen feel to it. It is the story of a man who spends his life in a seaside village perfecting the art of filling the chum buckets that the fisherman take with them to sea to attract fish. I call it "The Master Baiter." Maybe someday I'll be able to get a handle on it.)

Anyway, I worked on "Marcy" over the past week or so and finished the draft. It seems all right. I think I'm pleased. Stephanie liked it when she read it today. So in it goes.

Now, all I have to do is write two more episodes of "The Political Thing" and season one is written. Just like in the "Niagara Falls" sketch, we go step-by-step, inch-by-inch.


Anonymous said...

Better go with "Kingdom Chum." That other title sounds too much like you know what.


Len said...

Huh. And all this time I thought "The Master Baiter" stood out. I really thought it was hard to beat. Oh, well, back to the drawing board.

Robert G. Margolis said...

Len (if I may call you that),

You have provoked me to self-revoke my membership in the "silent minority": Reports and descriptions of different phases of your work on different writing projects has not been the "least popular"--at least not for me, my shadow, and I. ("Least popular" problably was when you announced the end of this Blog as we know it. Blog recidivists say 'thanks for the reprieve!')

The occasioned reports from your manual typewriter labor are always most engaging and interesting; it's just that, when someone is at work like that, the respectful thing to do is be quiet and not disturb them. I know the silence of the "silent minority" can be hard to hear sometimes, so I've 'amplified' it a bit here.

Anonymous said...

I thought you were a real gone blog daddy. Then I checked back and you faked me out. Well, whatever... I'll read it if you post it.
Your chum,

Len said...


Thanks for your comments. I'm just always afraid that these things are as boring to read as they are to write; I'm just glad that no one has had to resort to gouging out their eyes in order to be spared another installment.

Lenrik Ibsen

Len said...

Dear Chum,

Did you know that the British spelling of Chumley is something like "Chodoleny"? It's true. You could look it up, as Casey Stengal used to say. How that would've affected the cartoon walrus of my youth is hard to say, but I dare say it would have been devastating. I mean, picture it. You're a cartoon walrus who's always assumed that your name has been spelled in a rather straightforward, phonics-friendly way only to find out that it's spelled like somebody spilled a bowl of alphabet soup. That has to hit you where you live. If you're a cartoon walrus, that is.


Robert G. Margolis said...


Is that Ed "Opie" Rex to whom you refer? The child star of "Sophocles R.F.D."? Remember that one episode in which Aunt Sphinix asked him those wierd trick questions about "four in the morning, two in the afternoon, three at night"? Ed "Opie" Rex thought she was referring to his blind Uncle Ty's medication, and he gave his Uncle four pills in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three at night, which, of course, killed him. Ed "Opie" Rex found his Uncle Ty dead the next morning...Ed "Opie" Rex went raving hysterical with grief and guilt and put out the glass button eyes of his favorite stuffed bear...It took years of intense private therapy with neighbor Sigmund Floyd, the demon barber of psychoanalysis for him to recover enought to go on and direct the aggression of Russell Crowe in movies.

Len said...


Actually, I was thinking of the '70s sitcom "King Leer" in which Norman "King" Leer spends his retirement shuttling back-and-forth between two of his three daughters, both of whom have received shares in his real estate empire. If you remember, there was a secondary character called Earl Gloscester who had his eyes plucked out by one of the girls' husbands. The scene was shocking at the time, but fortunately, Quentin Tarantino came along to teach us that physical torture is humorous and a little bit campy.