The Splendor in Midland: Introducing The Midtones January 22, 2009Posted by William Spear in >> Lit Between the Ears, Volume Two, >> News, >> Radio Drama.
Tags: Amberson, Booth Tarkington, Mayonnaise in My Cake and Other Delights, Minafer, Morgan, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Splendor in Midland
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One of the breakthroughs in writing The Splendor in Midland was choosing to contemporize the story; one of the challenges is to not lose sight of the original material. Inspired by Booth Tarkington’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel titled “The Magnificent Ambersons”, Splendor chronicles the fall of the Ambersons and Minafers and the concurrent rise of the Morgans.
Another breakthrough was to create an a cappella singing group named The Midtones. More on that in a moment.
The lead character is Georgie Amberson Minafer. He is spoiled by his mother, Isabel Amberson Minafer, and all the Ambersons and Minafers. He is also arrogant, contemptible, and mean. Challenging qualities for crafting a lead character.
Into his sheltered world comes Lucy Morgan and her entrepreneur father, Eugene. Lucy dodges all of Georgie’s idiosyncrasies with the grace of a matador. However, she is never able to fully slay his bull-headedness.
Obstacles to overcome
Despite the strength of the source material, writing The Splendor in Midland did not proceed smoothly. More precisely, the story made no progress at all since being included in Volume One.
The biggest obstacle was the absolute, and nearly complete, lack of positive characteristics of Georgie. Despised isn’t a strong enough word. Hated is too far. It seems Tarkington described him best when all the townsfolk of Midland talked of wanting see Georgie Amberson Minafer’s “come-uppance”.
All of which is solid but doesn’t help in writing the script.
The consequence of the two-year roadblock was to pull Georgie from the pre-World War One time frame and completely modernize him. And the sharp edges of his personality are slightly rounded to make him more tolerable. And for a slight bit of lightness, and a means to advance the story through music, he is connected with the previously mentioned a capella group, The Midtones.
An original song, “Back in Midland”, has been written and well be debuted in the play. All of which will appear in Lit Between the Ears, Volume Two: Mayonnaise in My Cake and other Delights when published on October 1, 2009.
First appearance of Splendor
The Splendor in Midland was first included in Lit Between the Ears, Volume One: Chekhov, O. Henry, Spear and Tarkington On the Air (ISBN 0-9778-4022-0; July 2006; Wolfmont Press). It was intended to offer an inside look at the process of writing radio drama.
Lit Between the Ears, Volume One: Chekhov, O. Henry, Spear and Tarkington On the Air
Lit Between the Ears, Volume Two: Mayonnaise in My Cake and Other Delights
Scheduled release: October 1, 2009
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