Monday, November 18, 2013

How the Bechdel Test Made Me a Better Playwright @ SF Theater Pub Blog

Here's a blog post I've been meaning to write for nearly a year: How the Bechdel Test Made Me a Better Playwright.

The post tells how I wrote the closing scene of my screenplay Aphrodite, or the Love Goddess to make it comply with the Bechdel Test. The scene worked like gangbusters, and I probably could not have arrived at it if I hadn't been thinking of the Bechdel Test. I'd love it if other playwrights considered using the Bechdel Test in this fashion, as a way of sparking their imaginations and leading them down pathways that they hadn't previously considered.

(An anecdote that didn't make it into the column: At the time I had the first living-room reading of Aphrodite, I hadn't written the final scene, but I was mapping it out in my head. I told my cast, "I want it to show Rosalie with another woman, because that hasn't happened yet," and everyone in the room went "ooooh," really salacious-like, because it sounded like I was saying that the scene would depict Rosalie with another woman sexually. I blushed like crazy and said "No! Not like that!"

Well, I suppose one does have to wonder: if Aphrodite is the goddess of love and many of the gods are bisexual, why are there no myths that show Aphrodite with female lovers? [Answer: the Greeks were a patriarchal culture in which it was OK for men to be homosexual, but not for women to be lesbian. Another answer: there is something very homoerotic about paintings that show Aphrodite and the Three Graces all clad in mere shreds of gauze, isn't there?] Nonetheless, that's not the direction I wanted to go in with my screenplay. Maybe it would've been more courageous -- and still Bechdel-test compliant -- if I had.)

Anyway, like I said, I've wanted to write this post for a year and I ended up doing it for my Theater Pub blogging gig, so go check it out.

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