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Thursday, 6 September 2012

I've Accidentally Written A Play!

Writing.  It's an odd activity.  Most of the time you're planning, thinking, procrastinating... and then you have to actually do some work.  I'm currently juggling a lot of writing commitments and they've all come together into one rather glorious mess.  Each day I get up, take the tablets, make myself the one real cup of coffee I can have a day and sit before the laptop surrounded by paper.  And then, because I've got several projects on the go, I choose the one I want to write that day dependent entirely on my mood.  On my moooood.  It is lovely.
Now, one of the reasons I don't solely write (beyond the fact it doesn't bring in enough money) is that this loveliness is entirely transitory.  I'm having a whale of a time at the moment because the writing is going well, the projects are all in a final stage of completion, so it's mostly a job of polishing, spitting and general silliness.  Most of the time this is not the case.
I should be mixing up my day more.  I have to learn some lines for Ghost Storyteller (the first half of the script has been locked and will not change, so I have no excuse not to learn it now) but the writing is going soooo well I just don't want to break the spell.
I'm writing in little bursts only.  I put on an album and work for 45 minutes to an hour (however long the album is) and then stop.  Sometimes I go straight on, sometimes I have a little break.  Food does get eaten.  (I've never understood the whole starving artist thing - food is pretty central to my writing process.  Hunger is not helpful - as the last 24 hours of starvation (and subsequent food obsession) for my most recent sigmoidoscopy has proved.)
The other day this process of random work generation took an alarming course.  I didn't even work on something in progress - it wasn't for the Christmas Storyteller shows, it wasn't even on the long distance radar.  It's just a play I've been picking at for the last couple of years, Complicated Pleasures, which - to my amazement - is up to length, has some great scenes and now just needs a lot of panel beating to get it into the right shape.  In fact, I'm planning on organising a reading of the script next Saturday.  Two days ago I wasn't even thinking of it, now I'm that confident I'll get it finished in a week.  When I picked it up on Tuesday I couldn't believe I'd somehow written a whole play and not really noticed.  I'd even forgotten about a whole subplot.  So, if you're based in Suffolk and would like to help read a play, pop down to the bar at the Quay Theatre, Sudbury on Saturday 15th September at 12.15pm.  I'll put a same float down at the bar for coffee and the like - though this will not be an infinite largess.  It should take a couple of hours to get through and is, I have to confess, a little bit rude.  So, no puritans please.
In other news, last week my cast for The Fantasy Terrorist Variations got together in dribs and drabs to read over the scripts.  FTV is made of three plays - the first is the award-winning Fantasy Terrorist League, which is to be performed by the marvellous Keith Hill - the second is a completely reworked Keynote Speaker, which I had a great session with the fantastic Simon Nader picking the original version apart and putting together again, but better - and the last play, which will feature both the above people of fabulousness, is currently titled The Project After, which is sitting in draft behind me now.  That is the next task.  It's sort of there, it's sort of ready, but it needs sharpening - and when I start doing that sharpening (i.e. when I'm in the mood) I will tell you all about the play.  Let's put it this way, halfway through the read through Mr Nader stopped mid sentence and cried out "Oh, Jesus Christ!"  Which I would hope is the reaction of the audience, if we do our job properly.  I think I've been tempted to produce too much nice theatre recently.  It's time to be a little dangerous.  I mean, it's lovely when a local vicar writes a letter praising my production of The Passion, but it does also suggest that somewhere I've failed.  But this is the subject of next weeks blog - let's not get ahead of ourselves.

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