I've two days of writing. Two days of solid writing. I'm trying to keep my schedule clear, but it hasn't been easy - people have been very kind trying to keep my commitment to the Panto I directed this year light, but there's always something that drags you back to the theatre and I need to finish, I need to complete the work in hand. It stops the brain from working, from doing the next job - even though the Panto doesn't really need my input anymore.
I took a day off from Pantoland the other day - or half a day off - and went to see a screening of The Crucible by Arthur Miller, as recorded at the Old Vic. I've never liked Miller. No, that isn't fair - I can't warm to him. I don't see it is possible to write the sentence 'I love Arthur Miller' as I can write 'I love Shakespeare' or 'I love the Moomins'. I can admire, I can respect - definitely respect - but love... not so much.
I lit a production of All My Sons the other year and I couldn't get excited by the play. It functioned, it had power but... Even his truly great play Death of a Salesman (and it is a brilliant piece of work) is difficult to love, only admire. The Crucible I've always given short shrift to, partly because we studied it at school (usually a killer) and partly because I've never seen a fully fledged production, only handmedown drama student work or film or audio versions which damaged the structure or the language.
In the documentary series Changing Stages Arthur Miller was interviewed and spoke about reading Shakespeare and marvelling at the construction, the density of language - copying it out to feel the weight of the verse or prose. You can see this in The Crucible. The language has a density, a layering which is above natural speech and yet feels real. I had never appreciated this before and the production brought this clearly to the surface.
I mention all this because, as I tend to do when watching screened plays, I drifted. I started thinking of my own writing, of the next projects and started writing in my head dialogue for a short piece. It has been in my mind for a while, but the recent attacks on children in Pakistan made this piece urgent in my mind. It was time to write and I sketched out the dialogue as I watched and wrote it down on the bus home. It will be a short Fantasy Terrorist Variation and I will record it on Tuesday and release it on Christmas Day.
Of course, I should be finishing The Trolls Trilogy - I am finishing The Trolls Trilogy. But this piece needs to come first - because it insisted, and who am I to argue with my brain. I plan, over the next two days, to finish this short and the last work on Trolls ready to record on Tuesday. I will then release these last stories each day. The new FTV on Christmas Day, the new Trolls from Boxing Day through to New Year.
On New Year's Eve I'm performing a secret version of my Trolls stories which I plan to record and put out online next year and maybe I'll even release so of my End of the Road Show. But we shall see.
Merry Christmas. More soon.