A Playwright’s Progess

I’ve started a new project recently. Or I’m revisiting a project that I started last year, Caged Bird Sings which was entered at the Lost Theatre in Stockwell Solo showcase and then selected to be part of the programme at part of their Solo Performer Season. For me now the piece has moved on since July. It’s taking it’s time getting off the ground but I’ve actually aired it to a few people, mainly Rebecca Atkinson-Lord at Ovalhouse, who gave me great pointers for it and suggested directions in which it could go.

In October last year I showcased the scene from CBS to the members of the Authentic Artist Collective and Paul Oertel and Nancy Spanier who were very encouraging with the piece. I knew during the workshop that I wanted to work introduce the piece, work a lot more with music and singing. I was introduced to a musician and shipwright Charlie Menzies who played on his fiddle an instruction on how to write an opera. An experience which I felt so profoundly moved by I knew that what I had to write was a duet and not a solo show.

I’m glad it’s a duet as partly out of fear, I feel that a show about male rape isn’t the easiest to tackle on your own and it needed more than the one story and definitely more than one character. With Freddie ending up in drag I feel that the second character would be best placed to be the foil for the audience.

Playwriting is dancing the line of describing the stereotype you know without being clichéd and describing the unbelievable you’ve seen. I’ve got the story of “Greg” who would like to collaborate with me in the telling of his story. It’s newspaper headline stuff, topics I usually avoid but this time I thought I’d tackle something that wasn’t part of my autobiography. I’m still working with the drag artist character “Freddie” but I there needs to be something else going on. Greg, based on someone else’s biography, will be the foil to Freddie’s ultra camp, ultra gay bitch of a character.

I’m hoping to get another CBS snippet out at Lost this year in July as I will be working with Colin Watkeys again for the same festival. It’s amazing to be asked to contribute to a festival. I always wanted to be one of those artists that gets asked to contribute. I’m also hoping to get it into The Pink Fringe as part of a seed commission which, if I get means that my 10 percent chunk of my funding will be raised but then there will be more people to hire. A dramaturg, lighting, the second actor, the composer… Yeah, I’ll be looking for more Arts Council Funding.

With Unbroken Line   I am still intending to work with East 15 World Drama students in creating the music for the show but I’m making sure that the funding is in place for the composition and the workshopping of the ensemble for the autumn of this year. Watch this space!

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