Kate Atkinson One Good Turn
A Jolly Murder Mystery
Black Swan 2007 (2006)
Kate Atkinson’s novel reminds me of the customary list, the dramatis personae, that appeared in printed copies of plays from the Elizabethan period onward announcing the characters one would expect to strut their stuff on the stage.
SO-AND-SO, King of Such-and-Such
THINGUMAJIG, heir to the throne of Such-and-Such
FLIBBERTIGIBBET, Queen of Somewhere Else
Attendants, courtiers, peasants etc.
For practical purposes — read-throughs, programme notes, students — that’s all very helpful, but from a dramatic point of view it makes little sense: an audience would want the characters, like the play’s narrative, to unfold before their very eyes, and a bald roster of who appears doesn’t normally tell you an awful lot.
So, what if I were to present the principal players in One Good Turn in a similar manner — would that be any different? Continue reading “That’s the way to do it”