So, I’ve been doing research and ruminating on a new play idea, this time about an artist trying to recover from an art controversy. I’ve read up on Robert Mapplethorpe and Sally Mann, and looked at the work of Paulette Phillips: specifically, “The Directed Lie.”
Potential titles include: “An Artistic Bent” and “The Comeback,” or “Moments of Truth.” It’s a comedy (no lie).
Here’s a sketchy outline of the idea:
When a scandal nearly destroys her artistic career, Chloe enlists a couple of old friends, Gerald and Nan, to help her mount a comeback.
Stinging from her arrest for “obscenity” and the abrupt closure of her photographic exhibit in the UK, Chloe shows up at the Arizona university where her friends teach, begging to show some new works. “They will offend no one,” Chloe promises. And in the midst of the early-90’s culture wars, Nan and Gerald need that reassurance.
But the theme of Chloe’s comeback collection, “Moments of Truth,” creates more controversy than anything she’s ever done. Her use of a lie detection device to force her photographic subjects to “face the truth” threatens the three friends’ relationship, upends Gerald and Nan’s marriage, and endangers Chloe’s hopes for a comeback.
Major dramatic question: Can Chloe achieve her comeback without ruining her relationship with Gerald and Nan, and the couple’s relationship with each other?
Censorship and self-censorship
How much truth can a relationship stand?
The artist’s responsibility to her subjects
The artist as selfish asshole