Bump has proven an oddly divisive play. In some quarters it’s dismissed as just two blokes in a room, bantering…whereas it also went through three readings and consideration at the Bush and was picked up by The Brockley Jack for Write Now 4. I suppose I do understand this split. The play does have a somewhat meandering quality, and could be written a bit tighter (what can’t?), but it’s been picked apart, line by line. Every line either advances the plot or informs the character. I’ve drawn oh so many charts mapping the progression of the conflict between the two characters and their own journeys. Undeniably though, it is still just two characters talking in a room and there’s not even any Pinter style fun, it’s all naturalistic. Segments which I believe to be imbued with subtext and meaning can easily be read as shooting the breeze. Perhaps it’s too subtle, but it’s been a joy watching the actors pick up on the meanings whilst working through it in rehearsal.
The slightness of the narrative both in scope and drama was a deliberate choice on my part, and though I will likely not write anything quite like this again, I’m glad I gave it a go. No-one dies. No-one changes hugely (though they are set on the path). No-one saves the sun from exploding. Bump is a play about two very different guys who aren’t sure how to be good fathers, partners, men, people in the modern world….working their way through it one night together in a hospital. Can that absorb an audience for about an hour?
We’ll find out.