Scripting Images [by James Wenley]
Auckland playwright Ben Anderson’s latest play is not your standard script. Published by The Play Press, The Suicidal Airplane is being claimed as New Zealand’s first published ‘Graphic Play’.
It’s part of a slowly emerging trend to make plays in graphic form, presenting ideas and scenes in images as well as words. Ben’s play, reproduced in full colour, is described as Draft One. Draft Two “is, and must be, the actual production.”
Play Press says that in reading the play “It quickly becomes clear that what at first sight might appear to be an attractive piece of whimsy about an angst-ridden plane is actually a profound, perfectly structured, hauntingly beautiful, funny, wise and magical story, with a surprisingly tough little backbone.”
Ben, who recently presented delightfully visual play This Kitchen is Not Imaginary at the Basement, answered my questions about his intriguing play, and equally intriguing format…
The Suicidal Airplane is billed as NZ’s first ‘Graphic Play’ – what does this mean?
Basically the play is written using words and also pictures. The idea is that everything on each page should be produced on stage whether that be the written text (as in a conventional script) or a comic strip or a drawing of some kind. It also means that written text may not be on the page conventionally - the layout of each bit of the page is also important to how it's 'read' and how it should be interpreted.