Finished a good full draft of All Good Men; ready for the cast

I’ve been sitting up, watching Independence Day in the background (on A+E), and working on the script for All Good Men. As earlier posts reveal, I’m adapting a script for use as a dance theater project. I’m terribly behind in my schedule, but don’t doubt it’ll get done. I’ve done this before… I had a company from 2001-2003, and made full evening length shows in a little over three months. Twice! I think these twenty minutes of dance won’t be too burdensome to complete by July.

The script, the frame, for the dance, is this story written by Dylan Thomas. I just finished placing in the dances, agreeing on almost all of the music. Here is the final scene – the Doctor speaking to his students for the last time:

To think is dangerous. The majority of men have found it easier to droop into the slack ranks of the ruled. I beg you all to devote your lives to danger; I pledge you to adventure; I command you to experiment. [slowly]

I have attempted to teach you the dignity of man: to think. But to think…. is to enter into a perilous country, colder of welcome than the polar wastes, darker than a Scottish Sunday, where the hand of the un-thinker is always raised against you, where the wild animals, who go by such names as Envy, Hypocrisy, and Tradition, are notoriously carnivorous, and where the parasites rule.

Pay no attention to the mob. Remember that the louder a man shouts the emptier is his argument. Remember that the practice of Anatomy is absolutely vital to the progress of medicine. Remember that the progress of medicine is vital to the progress of mankind. And mankind is worth fighting for: killing and lying and dying for. Forget what you like. Forget all that I have ever told you. But remember that.

Independence Day is now at my favorite part — the speech that the ‘president’ gives before leading the troops into the final air battle. Bill Pullman as the President in Independence DayOddly enough – he says: ‘we will not go quietly into the night!’. Which is theft of a Dylan Thomas line: “Do not go gentle into that good night”.  I realized a while ago that the theme played by Bill Murray on the piano in Groundhog Day is actually a variation by Rachmaninov. Apropos of nothing…

I wonder which part of this project I’ll perform. As President Bill Pullman just said: “I’m a combat pilot, bill. I belong in the air.”  I know one of the smaller parts is best for me… I’m thinking I’d like to play either the student or the Doctor’s assistant. Next few days will include re-recruiting the dancers and setting the rehearsal schedule.

Author: Robert Bettmann

Founder of Day Eight, and the DC Arts Writing Fellowship.