Black farce

28 Apr

As some of you will know, I am writing a series of novels about an Edwardian spy. It was suggested to me that I write one out of sequence to coincide with the centennial of the start of the First World War. And so I did some research and tried to find a storyline or real event which could give me access to a believable plot. In this I failed miserably. The event which triggered the conflict is generally agreed to be the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand and the Duchess Sophie in Sarajevo. This is where I would have to base the plot. One of the considerations I have to make when writing a thriller is to include some suspense. I could not have my hero preventing the shooting. There also needs to be a credible villain for the hero to be put up against. My reading about the events led to one conclusion. The participants were almost universally idiotic and the actually assassination caused by an unbelievable series of coincidences. It was an almost complete farce. After scrapping around for some side plots, such as Russian encouragement of Serbian expansion I scrubbed the whole idea. Then, talking about the events with a friend I chanced to remark that the only way to portray the events was as a black farce. This idea stuck, and I have been writing a play of some kind, either for a small theatre group or as a radio play. I shall try to adapt it either way. I do not mean to belittle the tragedy of the incident, let alone of the War. If I am playing it for laughs, they should be bitter laughs. One definition of farce is that it is tragedy played at ninety miles an hour. That is what I am aiming at.

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