Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Beginnings - the end, or is it?

I haven’t had time to take a breath for quite some time now. Beginnings the first showcase of the writers group absorbed so much time but was definitely worth it. Not just from the point of view of seeing my own short play come to life but seeing the other eight plays come to life too. Back in May the group had it’s first meeting at which I suggested that we present an evening of short plays – the brochure deadline was close we had to make a decision. Everyone said yes and then last week nine new plays moved around a space and were introduced to an audience.

The evening was an incredible success – the writers most of them completely new to theatre loved seeing their plays performed, listening to their jokes getting laughs, watching their characters connect with an audience, watching their stories enthral an audience. All of them came away wanting to write more, wanting to write bigger plays, better plays.

The actors and directors without exception all told me they loved it so much they wanted to be involved in the next one. Interestingly a few of the actors spoke to me about how incredibly and unusually nervous they were because the writers were involved and they felt a deep need to perform the words and the play as the writers wanted. I was surprised by it but deeply moved that the actors involved felt so deferential to the writers. Maybe this is common, maybe I was just very lucky with my actors.

I set about wanting to create a project that put the writers at the forefront. Yes, theatre is a collaborative process and yes I was blessed that that such amazing performers and directors willingly gave their time to bring the plays to life. But yes, the writers were in the forefront, literally sitting in chairs at the front of the audience so that it could not be doubted that it was the writers ideas, the writers characters, the writers words that were the Beginning of what the audience was watching.

And now on to the next project. The Town with No Traffic Wardens, a showcase of separate plays whilst also trying to build the piece as a collaborative play that will work as a whole. I keep being told that collaborative plays are at best problematic, at worse impossible. But I know the process will be a valuable learning experience for everyone involved and gives us great material for writing exercises so I think we’ll give it a go anyway. I have every confidence that Aberystwyth will offer forth it’s stories and give us great material, after all this is a town where you can find a shark illegally parked on double yellow lines.

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