I’m all about the theatre these days. As you may remember, I am Artistic Director of the arts charity, CurvingRoad which I first blogged about here .   Our new big production, the play “Sh*t-M*x” by the new playwright, Leo Richardson, started rehearsals yesterday.  Pr is underway, money is being raised…and raised…and raised.  It’s a tremendous undertaking mounting a play in the West End, and the fact that we are such a young organization, and a charity, makes it all the more challenging.  But exciting!  I’ll be talking much more about it in the days and weeks to come, but you can at least know that the venue is The Trafalgar Theatre, London, and it opens 30 Sept.

But yesterday also started a week-long workshop of a play I’ve been writing myself on and off over the last year.  Without giving too much away, I can say that it is set in a restaurant and involves a young waiter, a young waitress, and an older disabled man who is one of their “regulars.”  It’s called “Table for One.”  I have been lucky enough to have convinced the director, John Wright, to spend the week with me and 4 actors, diving into the the text, playing with it in all sorts of imaginative ways, and seeing whether it is working or not.

John has his own unique way of approaching a text.  He picks a scene in random, definitely out of the sequence of the play as written.  He has the actors read it through a few times, then they record the reading.  A set is “built” using whatever tables, props, chairs there are to hand, and then the recording is played back.  But the actors don’t “act” the words. If anything, they “play” against the words, using it as a framework, but loosely.  What arises is an “unlocking” of the text to see what is there, what isn’t, what can be opened up between the characters and what new, unthought of ways the play can be moved forward.  As a writer, it is exciting to see if your characters really do come to life, and if they do, how they can become even greater than you had imagined. And it is humbling to sit back and watch others play with your ideas, adding new dimensions to what started as your own words.  In this rehearsal room, the text is greatly respected, as is the writer, but neither of them are sacrosanct.  John has written a book describing some of his theories called Why is That So Funny?  For those of us who love the theatre, it is a fascinating look at why we laugh when we do, and why that laughter is so crucial to also making us cry.
I am having such fun!