Monday, April 13, 2009

As Bees in Honey Drown

On Saturday, the family traveled in a driving rainstorm to Philadelphia to see As Bees in Honey Drown. Our daughter was the director. Proud Mama that I am, give me a moment to kvell. The play was marvelous; the casting sublime; the costumes, set design, music, in fact, all the artistic decisions were creative, brilliant, and so clever that Steven Spielberg might want to put my daughter on speed dial. In other words, the afternoon was a clear the bases hit.

Beyond all questions of maternal pride, the play was also thought-provoking. It asked: what would you do for fame and fortune? How much of yourself would you sell in exchange for at least fifteen minutes, if not more, of fame? The protagonist is a newly-published author. Hmmm, that sounds familiar. His book has gotten good reviews – but the financial payoff has been minimal. Hmmmm, also sounds familiar. (Brief BSP interruption – have you seen the review of Murder Takes the Cake in the Midwest Book Review????!!!!)

Okay, back to the discussion.

We first meet Evan Wyler (a pen name – hmmm), at a photo shoot where he is directed to take off his shirt – so he’ll appear “hot.” Hmmm, okay, not so familiar. I think it’s safe to say that neither half of Evelyn David has been asked to look “hot” for a promo shot…but you get the idea. Evan wants to wear a v-neck sweater leaning on a pile of books by Proust; the photographer knows that sex sells.

The plot, alternately serious and hilarious, follows Evan’s adventures and misadventures as big bucks are dangled in front of him at the cost of his sense of self and personal ethics. He whines that despite spending nine years writing his well-received novel, he still scrambles to pay the rent each month. Offered the opportunity to write a movie of Alexa Vere de Vere’s life for $1,000 a week, he’s eager to sign on despite the fact that he knows immediately that at least part of the tale she is spinning is an outrageous lie. Hollywood beckons.

So would I sell out for fame and fortune? Um, yes, faster than a New York minute.

No, no – I didn’t mean that. Sure the money was momentarily blinding; the photo spread I envisioned in People Magazine was tempting (tops on, of course). But I’d like to think I recognize what’s important in life and the inevitable cost when you trade ethics for dollars or power or even that photo shoot in People.

There's always a fine line between promotion and selling-out. For that matter, there's a fine line between promotion and boring people to death as you try to publicize your book. But as both halves of Evelyn David gear up for marketing Murder Takes the Cake, we'll keep As Bees in Honey Drown in mind (and our tops on!).

Evelyn David

1 comment:

  1. Those proud mom moments are great--and this was certainly a spectacular one.

    I wouldn't mind have a bit more fame for my writing, probably won't happen, but I haven't figured out a way to stop writing.