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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Ghosts, trains and audio adventures...

It hasn't been the kind of week for indepth writing, as it's been a week of admin and other more exciting elements.  Firstly, first date for the tour is in negotation and gave me the idea for a new story.  I'm planning to perform a set in October in my local town, Lavenham, for a limited audience.  And to give it a local flavour it'll have a new story tentatively titled The Ghosts of Lavenham.  It will feature some of the other stories I'm working on, but that will be the main feature - I will probably alternate it with Encounters with Trolls of the Northern Line in the later London run. 
Also we've been recording stories from the Teaching Gods and Other Stories... collection.  So far recorded is Keynote Speaker and Bink!  The Alternative Seagull was also recorded, but I'm thinking of re-recording it with an audience, as I think it loses something without laughter.  More on this soon, but the recordings do bring me onto the issue of drift.  Drift.

The chief difficulty I face with monologues is drift.  That is the slight adjustments that get made naturally across a run, and how far do they get introduced into the “final” script.  Is a joke, added by the actor (with permission) to be added into the script?  I found recording on Sunday morning a number of slight variations which Simon and Cat had to their performances – but as they’ve “owned” those stories for two years now, is it up to me to say that isn’t the real text?  Well – legally – yes, but I think as storytelling is close to a folk art, the old bardic tradition, there is a legitimacy to their adjustments.  And I shouldn’t complain.  Especially when they work.
Of course drift occurs in my own performances too.  I’ll come back to the script after a year and go: “oh... is that the line?  I’ve been doing --- instead.  And it’s better.  I think.  Hmmnn...”  Do I rewrite the text and add that to the next edition (and Teaching Gods goes through editions and versions faster than... add simile later) or leave it as was?  Still haven’t come to any firm answers to that one. 
Add to that the issue of explicitly rewriting a previously performed story - as I am doing at present with The Examiner of Small Ailments.  The new version should end up being a complete show, something at a length of Cuckold’s Fair.  Do I keep the old version in the Teaching Gods collection as was, or do I delete it and leave the new version for separate publication?

I have also tentatively set down the start of a new story set on a train.  It's based on an incident that nearly happened to me.  I was on a train and something unpleasant started to happen, but didn't in the end as the person doing the unpleasant thing thought better of it.  I've started playing with this set up, seeing how far it might have gone.  It's the same kind of process I used with Fantasy Terrorist League, imagining myself into a situation and seeing how I might react if x happened.  Which in real life it didn't.  Thankfully. 

Just prior to the audio recording I also held a little read through for Amleth - my new(ish) play.  It's been a sod of a play to be honest.  The first draft was completed three years ago and then my computer died.  Died after a sudden burst of creativity in a very short period of time which didn't survive post-crash recovery.  So I had to start again with earlier remnants.  But I had other deadlines then and couldn't come back to it for ages, by which time the play had changed in my mind. 
So I started again and again... and finally it is done.
What I haven't mentioned above is that it was a two-part play, so there is still a read through for the, as yet, completely unheard second part.  That will be late march, details will follow people, details will follow.

Enough, dear blog, enough... I'm a day late as it is.

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