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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Not Writing

I'm not writing at the moment, I'm directing a Pantomime.  That isn't to say I can't write or that I'm blocked, I'm directing a Pantomime.  I'm more a coiled spring, waiting till I'm no longer (altogether now) directing a Pantomime.
Which should be in about a week.  Then I will leap into action.  Well I'll have to, I'll only have a couple of weeks to finish off the final part of my Trolls Trilogy and finish my end of the year show.  These jobs will be mostly editing or tidying.  I've got SOOOOO much material for Trolls, just little idea how to structure it.  I've decided it will be released in daily episodes over a week and I suspect it will be more fragmented as a story, rather than a clear forward seeking narrative.  We shall see.
But then, then there are the new plays and the old plays which haven't been scheduled for performance and so sit on my computer, lonely.  There's a new piece I've sketched out in my mind called Happathy.  Which is a happy story about the end of the world - it's fairly short though.  And a sketchy one-to-one piece called Just Say Yes which I could probably throw together in an afternoon, if I were so inclined.  Then there are the two long format plays I've been toying with for years and probably blogged about previously, so I won't go on about them.
Then there's the play with no story.  No logic.  There's a play in my head and it's just a scream.  That's all I can see, a scream.  Lots of screaming.  Or, at least, it ends with a scream - because there's no where else to go.  I think.  I just don't know yet.
But I can't see any work happening on that till after the Pantomime and mundane thoughts about blocking and sound effects and schedules are banished from my brain.
Not that I dislike Pantomime - I really enjoy directing Pantomime, but it does tend to get in the way of my other work and it is, essentially, a commercial product.  I've had some success with commercial theatre - one of my happier productions was directing a production of House Guest by Francis Durbridge.  It's a bloody awful play, frankly, trapped in the 1950's (despite being set in the 1980's) and full of unhelpful repetitions of character names, to the point where you can't remember anyone's name because every sentence seems to contain a name and you end up with snow blindness.  And I chose to do it, rather than Uncle Vanya.
So I cut it.  I hacked it.  A play that was in danger of running two to two and a half hours was culled down to ninety minutes.  If I could have got away with it, I would have cut more and run it without an interval.  (This was, it should be added, quite against the license, but no one checked!)  It contained three deaths, each of which were staged with care.  It had stacks of tension and atmosphere.  My only complaint with the production (apart from the odd lighting and set issue) was the ending.  The ending of House Guest is terrible.  I wish I'd gone a bit further and, rather than just cut down, I'd actively changed the ending.  A final shoot out with the villain blasted through the french windows, sugar glass flying, would have been fab.  But I didn't.  Hey-ho.
Ironically, as a piece of commerce it was a total failure - in that, it didn't actually sell any tickets.  But as a fun, thrilling, suspenseful piece of balls - it was great.
So, as I say, I like the odd bit of commercial directing work - but it does stop me from writing much.  But I can wait.  I can wait.

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