11 December 2016
Source medium: The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
Source text: “That day, too, I made a friend – of a sort. It happened that, as I was watching some of the little people bathing in a shallow, one of them was seized with a cramp and began drifting downriver. The main current ran rather swiftly, but not too strongly for even a moderate swimmer. It will give you an idea, therefore, of the strange deficiency of these creatures, when I tell you that none made the slightest attempt to rescue the weakly crying little thing which was drowning before their eyes. When I realized this, I hurriedly slipped off my clothes, and, wading in at a point lower down, I caught the poor mite and drew her safe to land. A little rubbing of the limbs soon brought her round, and I had the satisfaction of seeing she was alright before I left her. I had got to such a low estimate of her kind that I did not expect any gratitude from her. In that, however, I was wrong” (Wells 42).
Destination medium: situation comedy
(The Time Traveler enters the riverbed from stage left looking disheveled and out of place. Laugh track as he accidentally kicks two Eloi out of the way to sit down.)
Eloi 1: Watch it man!
Eloi 2: Are you goddamn blind?
The Time Traveler: How funny are these creatures, so childlike and innocent! It seems like all they do is play without a care in the world.
Eloi 1: Except for when we’re breaking your face!
Eloi 2: Calm down Tom. But seriously man, do you not understand English?
(Noises arise from the river as Weena appears to be drowning.)
The Time Traveler: How could these people not save her? No one does a thing! Alas, I will use my greater physical strength to rescue this poor creature! (Laugh track as he sheds clothes.)
Eloi 1: Holy shit, keep your clothes on. No one needs to see that old man body.
Eloi 2: She’ll be fine, she’s probably just diving for something again.
The Time Traveler: It appears that these two Eloi are cheering me on! Perhaps they do understand my intentions!
Eloi 1: About as much as you understand PLAIN ENGLISH. (Turning to Eloi 2.) He clearly thinks that his hulking form makes him superior over us and excludes him from trying to understand our culture.
Eloi 2: Wow Tom, can you sound any more pretentious? (Laugh track.) Oh god, there he goes, dad bod and all.
(The Time Traveler dives into the river much to the Eloi’s disgust and pulls a resisting Weena out of the water. He then proceeds to “rub her limbs”.)
Weena: Look man, I don’t mean to whine –
The Time Traveler: She speaks! Her name is Weena! (Laugh track.)
Weena: It’s actually Rachel. Anyway, when –
The Time Traveler: She says it again, Weena! What a precious creature! (Laugh track.)
Weena: I’m speaking ENGLISH, for Christ’s sake! What do you not understand?!
The Time Traveler: She cries in distress. I shall rub her harder. (Laugh track.)
Weena: Hands off, creep! Anyway, I lost my wedding ring at the bottom of the river and DOVE for it. I’m literally married, so get off me, and on top of that, I’m an excellent swimmer. I was in the Eloilympics three times and won gold medal for the butterfly twice.
The Time Traveler: How she squeaks in dismay and cries at me earnestly! She is so grateful for my aid. I must now adopt her as a weird child/sexual object combination. Good thing I’m so much more advanced than these creatures. (Laugh track.)
Eloi 1: Rachel, you okay?
Weena: Nah, Tom. This guy is psycho. How do I get him to leave me alone?
Eloi 1: Give him this garland of flowers. He’ll probably think that you’re trying to call him gay and his macho-bro complex will reject you.
Eloi 2: Still pretentious Tom, but definitely true.
(Weena presents The Time Traveler with a garland of flowers.)
The Time Traveler: She’s become attached! She’s in love! I must now protect her with all my might. (He swoops Weena off her feet. Laugh track.)
Weena: Screw you, Tom! You were wrong, he’s dumber than a Morlock!
Eloi 1: And you’re more like a whore-lock. I’m telling your husband! (Laugh track.)
When I first learned about this remediation exercise, I knew that I wanted to translate the text of a novel to a script of some sort. I was interested to see what would come across when a primarily descriptive text was made into solely dialogue. The Time Machine hardly contains any dialogue at all, except in the beginning at the two dinner parties when the Time Traveler relays his knowledge of time travel and his story.
I also knew that I wanted to make this script somewhat humorous, so I took a different route from the primary text. Instead of simply translating the text into script form, I decided to make fun of the Time Traveler. The source medium shows everything from the Time Traveler’s perspective, so I put in the perspective of the Eloi’s and showed that the Time Traveler’s perspective was, in fact, wrong. I also juxtaposed the speech of the Time Traveler and the Eloi. I had the Time Traveler speak in an old-fashioned way aligning with the source medium and the Eloi speaking in a more modern way.
The source medium is able to incorporate more description than the source destination. From a first-person point of view, the Time Traveler can completely control his narrative in any way he wants. Everything the Time Traveler observes about this new world is through his perspective and only his perspective. He assumes that Weena’s drowning and assumes that she needs his help. The script form of the destination source allows the narrative to be transformed into multiple points of view. It’s not just the Time Traveler commenting on the event. Instead, Weena and the two Elois comment on the event as well, including the actions of the Time Traveler. They are able to question his motives and thoughts, something lacking in the source medium.
I made Weena and the other two Eloi question the Time Traveler due to his blatant arrogance in the original form of the novel. He lands in a new time and age, in a new culture of people, and makes no effort to assimilate himself to them. He doesn’t respect their ways but instead criticizes them in everything they do. These people are directly evolved from him, and he focuses on all the wrongs of their race, thinking himself to be superior. “It will give you an idea, therefore, of the strange deficiency of these creatures, when I tell you that none made the slightest attempt to rescue the weakly crying little thing which was drowning before their eyes” (42). This quote made me especially question his authority. He says that the Eloi have a “strange deficiency”, so I decided to give the Time Traveler some “strange deficiencies”. Due to his arrogance, he doesn’t even try to understand the Eloi or communicate with them, and that is shown in the destination medium.
The destination medium seemed more restricting at first, due to the amount of showing I had to do versus just telling, but in the end I think that it was freeing. It allowed many different perspectives to be expressed instead of just one, which gave a much more holistic narrative.