Splendor in Midland: 100 reads and featured at Scribd September 5, 2009Posted by William Spear in >> Playwriting, >> Radio Drama.
Tags: audio drama, Booth Tarkington, Pulitzer Prize, radio theatre, scribd, Splendor in Midland, The Magnificent Ambersons, two plus plus productions, William E. Spear
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THE SPLENDOR IN MIDLAND has been read 100 times in it’s first day at Scribd. Inspired by Booth Tarkington’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Magnificent Ambersons,” Splendor tells the story of Georgie Amberson Minafer, the next generation of the wealthy Amberson family.
Georgie Amberson Minafer is viewed with contempt by the residents of Midland. Since his antics as a spoiled youth, they have longed to see him get knocked down a notch or two. But no one could have imagined the pounding he would go through.
THE SPLENDOR IN MIDLAND is about Georgie and his families, the Ambersons and Minafers, as they face financial and personal upheavals. The return of the Morgans, absent for 20 years after a public humiliation, rekindles ancient recollections and ignites new emotions.
Episode One, titled, “A Gem in Its Setting,” takes place on Christmas Eve at the Amberson Towers in Midland. The occasion is their annual holiday open house and this year the family is celebrating Georgie’s sophomore year in college.
The evening begins with laughter and smiles as Eugene Morgan is reunited with childhood friends Isabel Amberson Minafer, Georgie’s mother, and Jack Amberson, Georgie’s uncle.
But the party ends with a somber tone and sets into motion events which will make the participants wonder if there is any splendor remaining in Midland.
The Splendor in Midland may be read at Scribd:
Other works of William E. Spear may be found here:
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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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Believe, Simply Believe: The Splendor in Midland moves forward January 6, 2009Posted by William Spear in >> Lit Between the Ears, Volume Two, >> News, >> Playwriting.
Tags: Amberson, Believe Simply Believe, Booth Tarkington, Lit Between the Ears Volume Two: Mayonnaise in My Cake and Other Delights, Mayonnaise in My Cake and Other Delights, Minafer, Morgan, Orson Welles, Pulitzer Prize, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Splendor in Midland
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Progress has been made in developing The Splendor in Midland from the excerpt debuted in Lit Between the Ears, Volume One ( http://Volume-One.TwoPlusPlus.com ) to a finished play. Inspired by, and interpreted from, Booth Tarkington’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel titled The Magnificient Ambersons, The Splendor in Midland tells the stories of the diverging fortunes of the Ambersons, Minafers, and Morgans.
The Splendor, Act One will be included in William E. Spear’s anthology titled Lit Between the Ears, Volume Two: Mayonnaise in My Cake and Other Delights scheduled for release on October 1, 2009.
“Although our second book contains more original material and less adaptations, The Splendor in Midland holds a special place in our [Two Plus Plus Productions'] efforts,” says Spear. “Tarkington’s novel is accessible and Orson Welles’ intriguing movie from 1942 compelled us to offer our own version.”
October 1, 2009 -
Believe, Simply Believe
Further details on The Splendor in Midland and Mayonnaise in My Cake and Other Delights will be presented as part of the Believe, Simply Believe campaign leading up to the October 1, 2009 release.
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October 1, 2009 – Believe, Simply Believe January 1, 2009Posted by William Spear in >> Lit Between the Ears, Volume Two, >> News.
Tags: Believe Simply Believe, Booth Tarkington, Inspiration Committee, lit between the ears, Lit Between the Ears Volume Two: Mayonnaise in My Cake and Other Delights, mayonnaise in my cake, Mayonnaise in My Cake and Other Delights, Splendor in Midland, Straight No Chaser, The Magnificent Ambersons, Volume Two
To the readers of Lit Between the Ears, welcome to 2009. This is the third year we’ve been celebrating the People and Power of Dramatic Audio. Since starting the publication in July of 2006, we’ve had the pleasure of talking with people telling great stories with, or through, sound.
We’re excited to start the year with news about us – on October 1, 2009, “Lit Between the Ears, Volume Two: Mayonnaise in My Cake and Other Delights” will be released. As with “Volume One: Chekhov, O. Henry, Spear and Tarkington On the Air”, Volume Two will be an antholgy of our writing.
However, unlike our first book, Mayonnaise in My Cake and Other Delights will be mostly original works. One of the few adaptations will be the work-in-progress “Splendor in Midland” inspired by Booth Tarkington’s “The Magnificent Ambersons”.
Also, there will some short stories in the volume. Admittedly, the stories will most likely be adapted to radio, but they are starting their entertainment lives as shorts.
We will be announcing through this publication events, milestones, and news related to the book. Further, and in the very near future, the titles and synopses of the stories to be included will be posted.
In closing, thanks is offered to three friends collectively, and annonymously, known as the Inspiration Committee. Two Plus Plus Productions was struggling with commitments preventing us from investing the time and energy required for a second book. But the members of the Inspiration Committee cleared paths not previously seen.
One helped break the three-year mental logjam over how to move Georgie Amberson Minafer from Tarkington’s post-Civil War novel, “The Magnificent Ambersons”, to the contemporary settings of “The Splendor in Midland”. Her insights to Georgie’s character, which came through a gift of a capella Christmas songs from the singing group Straight No Chaser, also inspired a wedding toast during the recent holidays.
The two other members of the IC earned appreciation through a signature moment. At the conclusion of a running private joke over threatening to bestow upon me a Bedazzled and bejewelled clothing garment, they presented a beautiful red shirt with the word “Believe” emblazoned in a sparkling script format. So moving and compelling was the one-word command that it became the basis for the campaign to release our next book.
To the Inspiration Committe, thank you for your support. You have put us in a position to officially begin the launch of “Lit Between the Ears, Volume Two: Mayonnaise in My Cake and Other Delights” with the following focus:
October 1, 2009 -
Believe, Simply Believe
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Tags: >> Radio Drama, audio theatre, Booth Tarkington, Lit Between the Ears Volume One: Chekhov O. Henry Spear, The Splendor in Midland
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The fourth script in Lit Between the Ears, Volume One: Chekhov, O. Henry, Spear and Tarkington On the Air is “The Splendor in Midland.” Splendor chronicles the changes in fortunes and social positions of three Midland families: 1) The Ambersons; 2) The Minafers; and, 3) The Morgans. The Ambersons and Minafers are both financially decimated. The Ambersons also lose their prominence and standing within the community. Concurrent with the decline of the Ambersons and Minafers is the rise in wealth and status for the Morgans.
The focal character, and catalyst for events, is Georgie Amberson Minafer. Georgie is the third generation of Ambersons in the Midwestern town of Midland. His abundance of manly beauty and Amberson lineage is noticed by everyone. However, his antics as a spoiled youth make Midlanders hope and pray for his come-upance – something that will take him down a notch or two. When his come-upance ultimately arrives, it delivers a fierce thrashing “three times filled and running over.”
“The Splendor in Midland” is currently a script-in-progress, an attempt to show how scripts are written and the considerations behind story and character development. It is adapted from Booth Tarkington’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Magnificent Ambersons. Tarkington (born 29 July 1869, died 19 May 1946) was an American writer and The Magnificent Ambersons was the second book of his Growth trilogy. Orson Welles adapted the novel to a film in 1942.
Lighting the Fuse: An Excerpt from The Splendor in Midland
The writing of “The Splendor in Midland” has begun and the following passage has received interesting feedback. In June, Hunterdon Radio Theatre (Clinton, NJ; http://www.hrtonline.org) conducted a script development session for its writers. The Splendor in Midland was included and the following passage was particularly noted for: 1) Setting tone for the characters; 2) Backfilling story details; and, 3) Setting the current story.
The session also demonstrated the requirement of two actors of contrasting styles to successfully perform the piece. These insights are routinely revealed through script development sessions.
In the passage, Eugene, the protagonist, is returning to Midland after an absence of 20 years. Fred Kinney, a minor character, is updating Eugene on the town’s recent history. In 23 lines of dialogue, barely a page, Eugene and Fred establish the following: 1) Their friendship after a 20 year interruption; 2) They have both aged during that time; 3) An undetermined painful moment in Eugene’s past 20 years ago; 4) Fred’s bachelor party was raucous; and 5) Midland’s residents don’t think much of the story’s main character, Georgie Amberson Minafer. Eugene also foreshadows what will ultimately be his greatest obstacle: A Mother’s love for her children.
Excerpt from The Splendor in Midland
MUSIC: OFF MIC: ORCHESTRAL.
KINNEY: (OFF MIC: CALLS TO EUGENE) Gene Morgan! (ON MIC) I’d heard you were in town. I don’t believe you know me!
EUGENE: Yes, I do, Fred Kinney! Your real face – the one I used to know – it’s just underneath the one you’re masquerading in tonight. You ought to have changed it more if you wanted a disguise.
KINNEY: Twenty years! It makes some difference in faces, but more in behavior!
EUGENE: So it does. My own behavior began to be different about that long ago – quite suddenly.
KINNEY: I remember.
EUGENE: Well … Know what I remember? Your wedding. I saw your lovely wife upstairs.
KINNEY: She wasn’t going to miss a big Amberson show for anything.
EUGENE: I remember your bachelor dinner too – most of it, that is.
KINNEY: More than what I can say about the night we went serenading.
EUGENE: That’s a night I try not to remember.
KINNEY: Sorry Gene.
EUGENE: Don’t think anything about it. Tell me, what’s the old town been like for twenty years?
KINNEY: There’s an heir to the Amberson line. Have you seen young Georgie?
EUGENE: Real good-looking boy. Seems like fine Amberson stock.
KINNEY: Too much Amberson, it seems, to some folks. His mother just fell down and worshipped him from the day he was born.
EUGENE: That’s what Mothers are supposed to do.
Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons, the basis for The Splendor in Midland, is an outstanding novel and accessible. Welles’ movie is equally entertaining. Enjoy both and stay tuned to the progress of The Splendor in Midland.
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