I want to get this down before it evaporates.
This is an idea, an outline, for a movie.
The center of it is a long-run murder play --- the obvious model for which is SHEER MADNESS. Early shots under the opening credits establish that it's done in a back-room of The Mermaid Tavern, and then the opening of the film is a quick-cut precis of that open-ended murder story. It should be filmed as a series of fairly wide shots of each of the six characters doing set-piece bits from the show, perhaps including in each shot some of the other characters as background --- a contemporary performance of a very long running institution.
Cut into this quick run-through are shots of the audience reacting to the zany dialogue; however, as these brief reaction-shots pick individuals out of the crowd, the shots are followed by flashback-closeups of that individual doing the very same lines or business we've just seen, though in totally different style from the current cast. Eventually, each bit from the contemporary run-through will be "shadowed" by two or three quick "echoes" of the very same line by different actors apparently from past performances.
Finally it's established that this is a "reunion week" with all the many casts in the, say, twenty-five years the show has been running --- many of them now gone on the fame, or careers, or obscurity --- back for a celebration of the wacky show's history, so the "echo" repeats mark the accretion of shticks and now-permanent ad-libs that have made the show and enduring institution at The Mermaid.
After the show it's revealed why I chose that name for the theatre: the bar is now filled with actors --- with their experiences with this long-run show in common --- elbowing each other out of the spotlight to tell their own stories of doing the show, much the way a mythical Shakespeare would gather friends from The Admiral's Men for drunken conversation after a performance of "Hamlet" at The Globe.
And in the midst of all this, the original writer of the show --- who never, though he tried, wrote another successful thing, takes a sip, shouts "Say, what the hell's in this drink?" collapses, and dies.
The assembled actors, having called the cops, lock the doors and, in a Real re-play of the murder-play itself, try to finger the murderer before the officers arrive.
And I don't want to Write a shooting-script.
I'd want to assemble a group of twenty actors and let them Improvise on the themes of the show, and then stitch together the final-cut.
And that's what happens when I take a nap instead of finishing a That Was The Week That Was screed, and wake up with what amounts to a lucid-dream running through my mind! (I have half the cast already picked out!)
Film at eleven......!