Second-guessing is not a good idea, especially when dealing with an established story line. As shared here in this blog ad nauseum, I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to editing my plays. Actually, one play in particular ("you couldn't be referring to 'Old Soldiers' now, could you, Eleanor?") which could be but not necessarily so, depending on yet another read-through evaluation of the story line and dialogue flow.
The reason for this conclusion came as a result of a sleepless night and for whatever reason - it's better than counting sheep - started thinking about the characters in my various plays and whether they are believable. It's been my experience that the lack of sleep precipitates my old friend, creeping doubt, to make its presence known. The play, as anyone who has followed the saga of writing and finishing 'Old Soldiers' knows, has had many incarnations and updates. The uncertainty last night was that maybe the original story line, is in the end, the best one after all.
This conclusion was reached at two-thirty a.m. until four a.m. in the morning while staring up at the ceiling. That's when self-doubt works best providing visual images of the characters playing out their scenes. Questions arose to the surface as to the various re-writes and incarnations and the rationale behind making changes.
Issues like whether or not Daisy the dog character is relevant and is her inclusion necessary? What would happen if she was dropped? Given that the dog is featured in one scene only, does it play an integral part of the whole? More importantly, would Daisy be insulted?
"Why drop me?" Daisy would most likely ask if she could. "After everything that Joe and I have been through, together, over many years, my contribution is important."
In the first copy of the play, there was interesting verbal inter-action between Joe and a bus driver discussing the reason for Joe's trip. It was subsequently dropped in later re-writes but I'm toying with the idea of writing it in, again. My thoughts behind this is that perhaps it would provide more background information on the character.
When sleep finally took over, I was no further ahead than before other than the conclusion that this is a really good play - if it's ever really finished. Whether that feeling of not one more word can be added or deleted will ever be experienced.
And there-in lays the problem.