I’ve been a reader at Theatre503 for a couple of months now, and because of it I find myself reading no plays outside of what I get sent from there – only got time for one a week. However, I do now breakdown scripts as well as read them, a habit I had slipped out of. I’ve been basically script reading for lots of people before and this is just a concentrated version but it has demystified the theatre reading process for me a little and two things have become apparent. The first is that a lot of scripts die on their arse. They start out crackling and then fall apart, and that’s a little heartbreaking because the second thing is that, if the other readers are anything like me, they really want to love what you’ve written. Seriously. I want the script that lands in my inbox to be the best thing ever, and my response would not be seething jealousy, it would be utter joy. Sure, I’d like to be able to pull that off as a writer so it might niggle a little to see someone else do it but I’m an arts lover above all and Good is Good.
Things are gearing up around Slingshot, with a creative team meeting happening next week. Luke, the director, seems really on it, and I think the whole experience is going to be a bit of a joy (fingers crossed). Before it gets hectic, I thought I’d just explain a little bit about it. Slingshot is, in essence, an attempt to short-circuit my writing instincts. Basically everything I’ve written for the stage has been naturalistic in form and content, dialogue heavy and played off the classical dramatic paradigm of conflict as drama. With this I have made my first fumbles into pushing towards something more abstract, more expressonist. Not for the sake of it, of course, there’s still a structure to the progression of the narrative and an emotional arc, I just wanted to hold it together with something that’s not conflict and whilst it is still has dialogue, it (hopefully!) creates a feeling that’s slightly askew from the natural. Kept it simple and open to interpretation, with no great tracts of revelatory speech (a fondness/weakness of mine) and not a single stage direction in the thing. The result? A play a director and actors can have a lot of fun with, I think, at least more so than with my normal stuff. When I first met Luke he told me he picked Slingshot precisely because he had no idea of how to do it or what it would look like and that excited him.
What did I think of that?