Mrs. Hawking is the combination of two fairly distinct genres. The first is the Caper, with its action and detective-story elements, and the second is the Parlor Drama, with its manners comedy and its witty, structured conversation. The Parlor Drama is a staple of theater, so it was no trouble working in those bits. But certain things belonging to the Caper, particularly the action-adventure stuff, can be a little tough to stage, as I can’t exactly depict an infiltration into a building or something like a movie can. But I put a great deal of effort into the reconciling of those elements and the corresponding challenges. You’ll notice there is a detectives-planning-their-next move piece, and an undercover-mission-to-obtain-information scene, complete with an element of distract-the-bad-guy-so-the-operation-can-happen. These elements are highly recognizable of the Caper genre, and by including them I illustrate it to the audience without necessarily having to worry about the details that are more difficult to depict onstage.
You don’t know how I wracked my brain to come up with the structure of the action in this piece. It’s extremely important to the tone I want to set that I combine the genres of action mystery story with parlor drama. And that meant coming up with interesting, complicated, tense ACTION that hopefully didn’t descend into absurdity or contrivance. That was extremely hard, but it’s absolutely necessary to achieving the right effect– engaging, exciting action that feels like a genuine challenge to the cleverness of our heroes without feeling false.
There’s also many, many emotional points I wanted to hit. I like the beats individually, but there are a lot of them, and it was difficult to find the right places to put them. I did not want the sequence of events to make no sense, or to make those beats feel crammed in. I was afraid I might have had too many ideas for just one script, but I always believe in early drafts it’s better to have too much material than to have too little; I could always cut the excess later. Perhaps miraculously, pretty much everything I wanted to get in there made the final cut, and I was both pleased and surprised by how I was able to make it all flow together.