Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Another half-developed idea

Have all but abandoned writing for the time being, spending my free hours on other pursuits. But still thinking. Am still on the hunt for a killer idea for my next show, trying to keep the elements which worked in Guilds but still be similarly original.

A setting some 1000 years into the future (carefully avoiding anything approaching science fiction!), where the prevailing religion of the time is based around, say, the Harry Potter books, in much the same way that Christianity is based around the gospels. Blissfully ignorant of the context in which the books were written, they believe in the literal truth of the books, and worship Harry as a messiah. This is, to us, a blatantly silly premise, but to them it would appear as natural as, say, transubstantiation appears to a devout Christian. There is a lot of scope then for poking some gentle fun at the expense of religion (in the same way that Guilds did to politics); by using some well-known modern culture as the basis, it is obvious how much the future people have missed the point of what they have studied.

There is more than a little Life of Brian in the basic idea, but I think the execution is remote enough from it to stand alone. Care must be taken to avoid any implication that modern religions aren't true (for a given value of 'truth'), but if it makes the audience ask questions along these lines then so much the better. Regardless of one's beliefs (or lack of), religion is a fascinating subject. There are also obvious copyright issues with HP and so on, so the reference must be indirect, but no less clear.

From a plot perspective, having a bunch of robed priests (a bit like in Die Zauberfloete) arguing how many crumple-horned snorkaks can dance on the head of pin, and other such theological matters, gives plenty of opportunity for comedy. Working in various cunning machinations and plot twists would pretty easy. It would be wonderful to juxtapose this petty committee-style squabbling with it being some major ecumenical conference (like the Council of Nicaea) where even the most arbitrary decisions have a direct effect on billions of people over the following centuries.

On a slightly different tack, focusing on junior members of the order might be fun. We always hear about the Illuminati (or whatever) having some massive worldwide plot at Grand Master level, but we never see how the junior members each do their own tiny part. They don't know the greater effect and probably believing that they were acting benevolently, probably as part of their own shot at positions of fractional rank and status.

The trick here is weaving a plot of human interest and probability into the larger structure, as the emotional content has to be carried somehow.

I like this idea. Would that I had time even to complete the fulfilment of the *previous* idea...

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