Best experience as a writer so far was had this week. My absurd short play, Everyone Loves A Story, was one of four staged readings in ‘Push’, a night of newly commissioned pieces at the Ustinov, Theatre Royal Bath.
I was tested, pushed and pulled every so gently by David Lane’s superbly questioning dramaturgy in the two weeks leading up to rehearsals. We had the day of the show to rehearse. David was directing a thoughtful, up-for-it and very strong ensemble cast (Rob Benson, Rachael Fagin, Adrian Harris and Louise Wright). There was a strange moment when I realised they were discussing and debating the script in the way I’ve done when I’ve been performing; i.e., taking it seriously!
This script was the last of the night to be performed – there were three pieces beforehand (from Steve Lambert, Heather Lister – both directed by the Ustinov’s Andrew Smaje – and Tom Phillips, also directed by David Lane) which were so powerful and different that by the interval, I was very nervous – could ours stand up against those? My worry about this piece is that the dialogue and action risk being confusing if the audience doesn’t go with the idea of participating and doesn’t enjoy the dark humour: then you risk leaving the cast pushing against a closed door – not much fun.
Very happily, however, the audience was a superb 6th character, calling out, chanting, totally playing their part – far more than I had expected. And this is what made this my best writer moment so far – my surprise (and delight, if it doesn’t sound too pseudy) at how it actually worked! What I wrote, what David made me tighten, what we aimed for as a group happened! So, talk about gratitude to all concerned – cast, crew, David, Andrew. A very smiling writer – rare, huh? 😉