Sunday, January 20, 2013

Maryka Biaggio’s "Parlor Games"

Maryka Biaggio, Ph.D, a professor of psychology for 30 years, undertook writing fiction as a serious pursuit around 2000. She attended writing conferences, started a critique group, and devoted half her time to writing. She improved her craft by completing three novels before writing Parlor Games. Now she splits her time between writing and working as a higher education consultant. Excerpts of her novels have garnered Willamette Writers and Belle Lettres awards. She specializes in writing historical fiction about real people.

Here the author shares some ideas for the director and leads for an adaptation of Parlor Games:
How much fun did I have imagining Parlor Games as a movie? Perhaps an excerpt of the Booklist review will give a hint: “The deliciously fabulous foibles and follies of a woman born into hardscrabble circumstances but determined to make her way in the world with wit, beauty, and a brazen ability to exploit her feminine charms….[Biaggio] makes the most of every entertaining opportunity—and, hey, a girl’s gotta make a living, especially with a particularly persistent Pinkerton hot on her heels. Sheer, frenetic fun.”

So, seeing my cunning characters cavorting on the screen? Now that’s fun!

First, we need someone with verve and poise to play May, our enchanting protagonist. I believe Scarlett Johansson would be a great pick. She’s saucy and knows how to charm and allure. And about that dastardly Pinkerton detective—he must be, by turns, suave and brash. Add a dash of swaggering confidence and who should appear but Harry Connick, Jr., sporting a waxed and downturned mustache.

I picture May’s true love, Johnny, as a blond, blue-eyed young man who oozes joie de vivre. He should not be overly familiar, but rather a fresh face, one without any baggage to interfere with him portraying the honest cordiality, sportive cheeriness, and touch of naiveté that May found “pinch-me beguiling.”

As for the director, he or she must be versed in capturing nuanced exchanges. He should be adept at coaxing all manner of complicated interactions out of the cast who play such games as wangling, romancing, baiting, and hoodwinking. Calling David Fincher.

A silver screen rendition of Parlor Games would surely be a romp. And a cable series would work marvelously, too. After all, the picaresque tradition lends itself well to serial treatment: May’s adventures and misadventures do leave one wondering what scheme she might next devise or how she’ll extricate herself from the most recent calamity. Let the fun and games begin!
Learn more about the book and author at Maryka Biaggio's website.

--Marshal Zeringue