Random Thoughts on Dark and Dreadful, Sex and Violence, and PENNY DREADFUL

by | Jun 22, 2014

I’m fond of dark and dreadful, sex and violence, knives and guns, story-telling and mythology. I’m also fond of really, really good acting and theatrical writing. I have a life long love affair with the theatre: I was a stage fight choreographer (I’m handy with blades…) and taught actors like the young Annette Bennett at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and dancers like Michael Smuin and his San Francisco Ballet, back in the day; I wrote plays under the tutelage of an intense Sam Shepherd and ran a small theater company, and I’ve enjoyed a long series of intimate dramas with a number of intense (and fascinating) actresses, dancers, directors and choreographers.

I’m fond of drama.

Especially the dark and twisty kind. When my friend WWE legend Lance Storm hosted my second novel WARRIOR IN THE SHADOWS with his BOOKMARKS Book Club, I wrote an essay here: http://www.stormwrestling.com/bookmarks/warrior.html about my encounters with Evil (capital E type) and how it shaped my life. So examining and confronting the Dark and witnessing the Light isn’t just a mythic theme in my novels, it’s a spiritual theme in my personal and “other” professional life. My service of going in harm’s way to protect others gave me ample opportunity to examine (and own) my own Dark Side Nature. And make peace with that.

My latest narrative addiction is giving me the absolute BEST of all my passions: extraordinary writing, amazing acting wringing nuances out of the words in scenes that had me leaning forward shouting in disbelief, dark themes, good versus evil, the Light versus the Darkness…

…and the core of archetypal writing, the conflict and confrontation with the Darkness within us, the proto-myth of conflict, that when skillfully rendered leaves us unable to look away.

It’s a TV show called PENNY DREADFUL, on Showtime, Sunday nights. http://www.sho.com/sho/penny-dreadful/home

Watch it.

Not just for astonishing writing crafted by John Logan, who wrote, among other films, THE LAST SAMURAI, GLADIATOR, and SKYFALL; not just because of his language and the characters he creates out of a genre mashup that blends together elements of Victorian Gothic fiction classics and shatters our preconceptions based on the films that came before; not just because it will keep you shaking your head in amazement at the situations and the language (and for the writers out there, watch a master at work and learn….) —

Not just for singularly brilliant acting from the most well-cast ensemble in recent years, Timothy Dalton, Josh Hartnett, Reeve Carney, and the amazing Eva Green —

Eva Green? Vesper in the reimagined CASINO ROYALE opposite Daniel Craig, the woman who broke James Bond and brought an intelligence and brilliance to the nuances of Bond and Vesper’s relationship (the scene on the train, when they go back and forth reading each other’s tells and kinesics — another lesson for the interrogators and street operators who read this blog…) that overshadowed her beauty (in the very best way) and hinted at the depths of her acting skills and abilities.

She is the hub around which this series turns, and in episode after episode carries off bravura acting I’ve not seen the like of since the young Meryl Streep in SOPHIE’S CHOICE. To take the risks she does, to push the actor’s envelope and not only get away with it, but leave the viewer stunned…best actress on television right now, bar none. Maybe the Meryl Streep of her generation if she keeps working with writers/producers like John Logan.

Tune in tonight and watch it with me — the season is winding down, and tonight promises to be another astonishing turning in the third act of an epic season. It will touch on the subject of my next novel; look for that in October http://www.amazon.com/Sword-Michael-Depossessionist-Marcus-Wynne/dp/1476736898/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397946349&sr=1-1