Archive of ‘Playwriting’ category

Presenting Chugging for Kittens – a New Short for Briefs, 29th April at Waterloo East Theatre

| Playwriting

Briefs

 

I’m thrilled to announce I’ve written a new short play which will be part of the amazing West Avenue’s seasonal scratch night: Briefs.

Chugging for Kittens is about good intentions, charity, and sexual gratification!

The short will be part of the Briefs Spring show on the 29th April at the Waterloo East Theatre. It promises to be a fast and fun night. Advance tickets are £10 and can be purchased here.

I’ll see you in the bar after. x

 

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Behind the scenes film of debut play: The Legacy

| Playwriting

Below is a behind the scenes film of my debut play, The Legacy.

Rehearsed readings were staged at Tristan Bates Theatre, Covent Garden in December 2014. The Legacy starred Claira Watson Parr, Lucinda Westcar, and Ray Bullock Jr. And was directed by Michael Beigel.

The Legacy team plan to develop the play and stage two further runs in London in the next one to two years. We’re currently accepting applications for producers, so do get in touch if you have further questions or would like to apply.

With thanks to the talented Michelle Becker for the incredible film.

 

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Can You Be a Writer and NOT Suffer From Anxiety?

| Playwriting, Uncategorized, Writing

scream

I have found another similarity between writing a book and writing a play: the fear. I’ve reached the part in the process where I lose all faith in my words. I’m convinced everything I’ve written is utter crap. The play will fail. Everyone will hate it. It’s not good enough. What am I putting the poor actors and director through? Now I’m not only gambling with my reputation I’m gambling with theirs.

Most writers I know are anxious. It varies on a scale from distractedly chewing their nails, to those using tools like Mindfullness, medication, or having counselling to help. I myself have explored pretty much every step on that scale. Including that old favourite: wine. Of course you can suffer from anxiety and not be a writer, but I often ask myself (Carrie Bradshaw voice): can you be a writer and not suffer from anxiety?

Write what you know is the oft used tip. If you wish to write a novel set in 18th century St Petersburg then research the city, the era, the clothing, the language, everything: then you will write what you know. You will get it right. In the same way, you can’t write about a broken heart without knowing what a broken heart feels like. You have to draw on the part of you that suffered to make it convincing – even if it’s transferring that emotion to another’s story.

Writers are constantly rooting around in the dark places. Opening old wounds so they can feel the pain, the grief, the despair and, of course, the joy. Simply to drop those feelings into 18th century St Petersburg, like you would an architecture reference or a popular food. It’s hard to turn that off at the end of the day. I see the exhaustion in the actors’ faces when they’ve tapped into that same shadowy place, and I recognise it. It’s like a collapse. Inwards. They’re spent.

In order to write successfully you must make people feel. Of course writers are anxious: we never let our wounds fully heal over. We’re always picking at them. Anxiety and writing go hand in hand.

Will people like my play? Will the audience feel the emotion? I don’t know. But I know I need that fear, that anxiety to keep writing. Without it the words are empty and meaningless.

 

You can find out more about my debut play The Legacy, including how to attend rehearsed readings on the 16th & 17th December at the Tristan Bates Theatre, WC1 here.

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What’s it like writing a play? Rehearsal time!

| Playwriting

photo-17

When opportunity knocks, fling the door wide open, kiss it on both cheeks and invite it in for a drink or two. Or three. So: I wrote a play.

I had an idea. A conflict. A detonating moment. Like writing a book, or telling a joke in the pub – the currency of storytelling is accepted across the globe. Across all mediums. And to a point that’s true. And then you have to think of who the audience will be. Where the audience will be. Reading a book in bed? Sitting in a cinema? On a night out with friends at the theatre? And then you have to learn.

I took a playwriting course at speed and under the influence of coffee and fear. Fear is a great motivator. And then I had it. This play. This one act. This story about three people and a mattress. And that’s where it got interesting.

Listening, with the director, to an initial read by the actors was both terrifying and electrifying. Would they like it? Would they hate it? Would they write everything off as a pile of crap?

They laughed.

In the right places. I exhaled. I hadn’t realised I was holding my breath. Then they laughed so hard I worried I’d really screwed up. Done something so stupid they couldn’t stop giggling. Something ridiculous, like using the wrong punctuation to indicate a pause. Well, actually, I had done that. But they said they weren’t chuckling at that. Hopefully they weren’t ‘acting’ about the whole ellipses thing…

I was welcomed to the rehearsals by my director. It’s an incredible thing to see the words you’ve written brought to life. To see a section played one way and then the same section played another way was mind-blowing. I didn’t know you could do that to words: to make them sing, and laugh, and cry. To build into them a resonance, a significance, a history that was far beyond my one imagined scene.

I’ve always thought acting was a physically challenging career, but I have a new understanding now of what it takes. What they give. And right there with them, breathing every breath, feeling every emotion, is the director who somehow manages to know both where they’ve come from and where they’re going to. It’s close to magic. And you feel it: the raw emotion. I know those words, I know what they’re going to say, but it doesn’t matter: each time is like a punch.

And I promise tomorrow I won’t dash across set and hug one of the characters to comfort them. They don’t like it when you do that. 

 

 

You can find out more about my debut play The Legacy, including how to attend rehearsed readings on the 16th & 17th December at the Tristan Bates Theatre, WC1 here.

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