Craig Lucas | The Dying Gaul

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Craig Lucas

Craig Lucas is a leading playwright and scriptwriter. He is now directing his own writing, both on stage and in film.

Some common subjects and approaches in the films of Craig Lucas:

An Emphasis on Strong Plotting

Craig Lucas is unusual in his technique. While he has made a career as a "literary" writer, his works use approaches different from the much-promoted anti-plot ideas dominant among literary critics. Lucas' dramas are full of plot. His plots are beautifully constructed, intricate, and full of meaningful detail.

These plots connect Lucas to a long tradition of playwrights whose work centers on well-constructed plots: the Renaissance drama of Shakespeare, Calderón and Moličre, the 18th Century comedy of Sheridan and Goldsmith, and their modern heirs in the comedy of manners of Wilde and Coward. Both in Lucas, and in his illustrious predecessors, the plot has real artistic value. Lucas' interest in exploring this theatrical tradition helps give his work a timeless quality. It eschews current literary fashions to develop important potentials of the drama.

Lucas is a bit like the science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin. Both authors create a rich flow of story, one that is arranged into complex, beautiful patterns. They have defied the received but moronic "wisdom" of their times that plot is unimportant.

The Dying Gaul

Links to Prelude to a Kiss

The Dying Gaul (2005) resembles Prelude to a Kiss in its plotting.

Impersonation of a Lover. In both, people masquerade behind someone else's identity. In both, the impersonation is of the hero's lover, and is designed to worm its way into his trust and intimacy:

AIDS. Both stories also deal with AIDS. In both, the hero experiences what happens when his lover is struck with the disease: Metamorphosis. However, The Dying Gaul too moves immediately into the world of metaphor and the fabulous. The hero has written a screenplay called "The Dying Gaul" about his lover's decline and death. And this screenplay too will undergo painful metamorphoses in the course of the film. This metamorphosis will involve changes between male and female, and transformations between gay and straight, just like the central plot developments of Prelude to a Kiss. There is a reverse order in the two works: This intricate dance of plot echoes in Lucas' work is representative of his deep commitment to plot as a writer.