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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Patchwork Playmaking: The World of Charles L. Mee

One of the most exciting and enthralling parts of working on a script created by Charles L. Mee is the opportunity to experience text and ideas from a menagerie of authors, critics, theorists, pop culturists, and more. Big Love is one of a collection of Mee's plays, which together he calls The (Re)Making Project.
Click here to check out the remaking project!
In his introduction to the online collection, Mee says:

"I have pillaged the structures and contents of the plays of Euripides and Brecht and stuff out of Soap Opera Digest and the evening news and the internet…There is no such thing as an original play."

Big Love itself is a loose adaptation of Aeschylus’s The Suppliants which is based on The Legend of Io. He also draws ideas and language from over 10 other sources, most taken between the time period of 1950-1999.

Click here to read more!
He also takes direct passages from The Pillow Book by Sei Sh┼Źnagon a Japanese court lady and author, under Empress Teishi (Sadako), during the  Helian period who lived between 996-1017. The Pillow Book is a series of observations and musings from her time as a court lady and her life in Japan. Within Big Love, direct text is taken from the first page of the book, which includes an observation about the loveliest times of year, “In spring, the dawn- in summer, the night- in autumn, the evening- in winter, the early morning”.

Another direct piece of text within Big Love comes from Valarie Solanas who is best known for her attempted murder of Andy Warhol is 1968. Solanas is a radical American feminist writer who famously wrote the S.C.U.M. Manifesto, which stands for, the “Society for Cutting Up Men”. Mee takes language such as “The male is a biological accident…an incomplete female” and places it in Big Love as one of the bride’s arguments against men.

See which characters upon whom Mee bestows excerpts from The Pillow Book and "The S.C.U.M. Manifesto" in Big Love at Villanova Theatre, November 11th-23rd, Tuesday-Saturday at 8PM, Sundays at 2PM.