So says Mandlelstam with his first line in the play "Tiger Milk," drawn somewhat from his life and works, which I began writing in March, 2010 and posting scene by scene on Fictionaut under the title "In the Jaws of Kronos." Thought by many to be the best of the 20th century Russian poets, in 1934 Osip Mandelstam wrote a poem vilifying Joseph Stalin and read it before a small group of friends. Shortly thereafter he was imprisoned, then released into exile and subsequently, in 1938, re-arrested, meeting his demise of unknown causes in a Gulag camp in December of that year. Though these events and others in the play are historically true, it is, barring a few quotes from his own and another's poetry, entirely an imaginative creation, a work of art, not history.
The idea in posting it on Fictionaut as a Work in Progress was a way of committing to finishing--before witnesses, in effect--and, since I had no experience with playwriting, a way of recruiting collaborators whose hoped-for comments might either encourage continuing or warn me off before I hurt myself. The former thankfully having prevailed, I finished it ( 3 acts and some 13 thousand words) and the complete version is now available in Prick of the Spindle's Kindle edition, at Amazon.
A number of fellow Fictionauts read along as the scenes were published here, and for that fact alone and their very helpful comments I wanted to thank Marcus Speh, Shelagh Power-Chopra, Larry Strattner, Kathy
Fish, James Lloyd Davis, and most particularly Eamon Byrnes who not only read and commented on each scene, but wrote me a fine summary critique when I asked him for final thoughts on the completed version.
And of course all thanks to Cythia Reeser, both for publishing it in her fine magazine, and for her thorough and constructive editorial eye in bringing it to print.
And Sam Rasnake. Thanks.
I'm in the throes of reading this again (in its entirety this time, yes, David, I really am:)). Congrats on the publication. It's a very memorable play with some truly original voices. David's always been brilliant with dialogue so it only makes sense that plays should be his forte.
Wonderful news, David, and kudos'n'such for following through.
A powerful premise and an artful execution.
In an age of revisionist history, the romantic view of as windblown Che Guevara supplants the image of the Gulags and the cheapness of life under Stalin... and how many others of his kind in a movement that ostensibly sought economic and social equality for all... your play reminds us of the facts in delicious metaphor.
Congratulations and every success. Please, keep us informed if this goes into production.
Congratulations, David. I admire your courage in posting it in progress here--and thanks also for the description of the process, something we seldom know or see in the final product.
That's great, David. Wonderful. Good for you.
Sorry I missed it here, David, but congratulations on its publication. Good for you.
I lack a Kindle (or Nook) and even experience in using one, but I visited the Amazon page. Very hearty congratulations, David!
Thanks, all, for the generous thoughts.
Ann, me too, but I expect the play will be returning to its original haunts here, one of these days after its run at Prick of the Spindle.
Yes! Drama is our greatest oft-neglected literary art form, so it is especially thrilling that Prick of the Spindle and Cynthia Reeser feature your play in the edition.
David, Congratulations!!!!!!!!!! You have taken on a word form that totally intimidates me. I have great respect for the play and playwright, and what a terrific venue is Prick of the Spindle!!!!!!!
Kudos David! As I too am without e-reader device, I eagerly await its return to Fnaut, or better yet, its debut on stage.
David, this is wonderful! Congratulations. Great publication! Cynthia is great! I will go read your play. How exciting!
Julie-thanks for the interest. From your lips to a producer's ear.
Gloria- Thanks so much, delighted you'll read it and to you, Susan, and Ann, thanks for giving Cynthia Reeser and Prick of the Spindle the credit so richly deserved.
That's Cynthia Reeser and Eamon Byrne, to correct two typos and show why I can always use a good editor.