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Monday, 19 September 2011

Where Do Babies Come From?

It's one of those difficult questions that writers get asked: "Where do you get your ideas from?"  Actually, I usually get asked: "What the f**k were you on?"  To which the reply is usually tea or coffee, rather than proper drugs.  I started drinking coffee at about six years old, in emulation of the great prophet Garfield.  As I sit, slouched on a sofa, watching a flicking computer screen, and drinking my tenth cup of joe I see that I still follow his wise teachings.
But I digress.  Where do my ideas come from?  Where do they not come from?  In the case of some plays the plots are direct knock offs of mythology, which everyone does at some point in their life.  With a bit of luck you grow out of it.  It's either that or a random thought or line that has tickled your fancy.  I was once sitting at a bus stop looking at someones shopping, abandoned in the shelter.  I wrote a few lines about them containing an unexploded bomb and how I really can't be arsed to raise the alarm as it's obviously not.  These pages became Fantasy Terrorist League.
A play like Shoes That Angels Fear to Wear was born of an idle thought of what someone would do if an old woman attacked them for possessing evil shoes.  It's an average day to day thought and it was expanded into a play.  Unfortunately for me, the image of a battle for a pair of shoes was also the subject of an episode of Cybill, which was being repeated at the time, and this may have got jumbled up in my mind.  Luckily no other componant of that show was repeated, so that's fine.  (That said, I had a terrible moment of doubt watching Drop The Dead Donkey the other day on 4oD - there was a passing reference that did sound like the seed for Bink! - luckily I know that there was no connection between the two whatsoever.  Slightly scary though.)
The current play I'm writing centres around an idea I had about a particular line of dialogue.  It came to me as an nicely ambiguous phrase, that had great potential.  A whole scene grew from that line and has acted as a spring board for the whole play, which is increasingly turning into satire about how much we've all sold out to market forces; how the market reaches throughout everything we do, to the point that our collective souls are now on ebay.  I won't tell you the line of dialogue, or the other ideas that abound.  Not yet.  That's the problem with writing stories / plays etc. - if I tell you what happens, why would you want to come and see it?  
The creation of wordage on the new play has now slowed, as the initial excitement of writing has lessened and I'm crawling along a bit.  But with 13,000 words down on the page, I'm happy for the last 5,000 or so to come out a little more slowly.  And then the horrible bit starts - the re-writing.  Long months of agonising - see my earlier blog on Despair.
So, where do babies come from?  From little random explosions in the night - but they're the easy bit.  It's the nine months of waiting, eating, sitting and vomiting that makes them really come to life.

The Natural History of Trolls
Tickets Available Now! 

Tuesday 29th November to Friday 23rd December 2011
Tickets £12 / £10 Concession
Three stories covering 150 years of history, two Queens, orange penguins and the fairy kingdom.  Midst this is the story of an ordinary commute gone wrong, when a troll-like tramp on the Underground turns out to REALLY be a Troll.  Not suitable for children.

Tuesday to Saturday starts at 7.30pm – doors open 7.15pm.  Sunday at 7pm, doors open 6.45pm.
Box Office: 020 8932 4747
Barons Court Theatre, “The Curtain’s Up”, 28A Comeragh Road W14
Nearest Tube:  Barons Court (Piccadilly/District Lines)

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