So. Having given Hero in a Coma a first public reading we (Tuesday’s Childe) are working out what to do with it next: how can we get it up to a full performance. As part of that we are reviewing the audience feedback and thinking what needs cutting, changing or developing. Now, behind our play lurks The Odyssey, which means one of our questions is ‘how closely are we following The Odyssey?’
That is a difficult question, as some members of the group would say ‘not very’ and others would say ‘quite closely’. I’m looking at it like this: imagine you’re making soup (that’s not too hard for me as I do that most weeks). You have a rough recipe, so you chop and fry and stir, switching a few ingredients around (why are there no green lentils in the house this week?) and pour in the stock you made last week. But on the back of your stove is a stock pot which has been bubbling away for close on three thousand years. It’s been added to and drawn on for all that time. The stock is thick, highly flavoured and something of a familiar taste. You add a ladleful from that ancient stock to your new soup.
As your soup bubbles away the flavours of that old stock work their way round and through your new ingredients. When you serve it, the diners catch a waft of that old, familiar flavour as the steam rises from their bowls. When they eat it they get your soup, but an undertone of that ancient stock. Some of them will recognise it and smile to themselves because they do. Others may never have come across it before, but they’ll enjoy the soup as soup.
That’s what I’m aiming for: a good soup.