Monday, February 1, 2010

Secret of Vaudeville

My dad fancied himself a bit of a song-and-dance man. He'd do Jolson or Durante, occasionally ending with a brief soft shoe and a "Good night, Mrs. Calabash". And then he'd offer this advice, which at the time seemed too corny to be worth heeding. "The secret of Vaudeville-- tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em, tell 'em, then tell 'em what you told 'em." Hokey? And then some.

It is shocking how often those words have rung true over a thirty year  writing career. And that is precisely what I didn't do in this third draft. I got the first two right but assumed I didn't need the third, alas.

In a song, the verse announces what's coming, the chorus states the theme, and the all important bridge provides that vital reiteration that feels so good and makes the last chorus feel complete.

In a movie's final scenes, the hero states, sometimes so blatantly it makes your skin crawl, exactly what he/she's been up to for the last 90 minutes-- even though we've been watching their every move. It's just the nature of story telling and the odd wiring of the human brain.

You gotta tell 'em what you told 'em.

Rub Of The Green by Brock Walsh will, with a little luck, appear in bookstores soon.

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Beverley Slopen