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Small Fry

from 2008

Let me take you back in time to 2008. I had just finished University and had been working on translating Spring’s Awakening. I don’t remember the exact timeline but at some point the idea for Big Fish: The Musical was born in either my brain or within the scarily-similar brain of my friend Sawyer (the Spring’s translation was entirely his fault). While I was in NC a little later I emailed Prof. Daniel Wallace about the project and he was kind enough to reply. I got a large portion of it done but I’m not a musician and so I was only writing the libretto and general staging.

This week Playbill announced that the musical version of Big Fish was going to be showing on Broadway in 2012. They have an amazing list of creatives involved and Hugh Jackman was reading for it, so that can’t be a bad thing! I am so excited about seeing it but it made me nostalgic for the version that I had been working on.

So, below is the prologue that I had written as the opening scene. I was working from the book of Big Fish, not the film of the same name. The book is darker and more involved and I think better. Saying that I do love the film. Clearly the ideas and characters for this were inspired by Daniel Wallace’s novel and I own no part of that, at all. This was just an intellectual (ish!) exercise. Now all of my notes can go up in the attic and be nothing but a happy memory. I’m thrilled to bits that this musical is being made, it’s perfect for the medium. It has also made me want to get back to playwriting (oh dear…). This is as good a time as any to shout out that my other bits of writing are in the pages across the top of the blog (look up!) if anyone’s interested.

Big Fish: A Musical
Prologue
Lights.
Adult William walks to centre and begins to speak.
You’ve probably heard of my father. His name was Edward Bloom.
He was born during the worst drought Alabama had seen in forty years.
When he was young he walked to school in every sort of weather. He knew everyone and everyone knew him.
He met a woman with one eye, a giant, a mermaid, and one very big fish.
He made friends. He made enemies.
He met my mother. He fought for her and he won.
He did the impossible and he made it look easy.
He went to war. He came home again
He had a son. He became a hero.
He saved lives. He brought a town back from the dead.
He fell in love for the second time. And she lost him. And he lost her.
He lived. He really lived, did my father.
And he did the most extraordinary, unexpected, unbelievable thing.
He died.
As Adult William finishes speaking the curtain lifts and the ‘change’ melody begins to play.

So there it is. The it-never-happened version of Big Fish: The Musical that I loved writing and thinking about. On to the next. And if you can get to Broadway – I’d bet this is one to watch.

Vick.

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