Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Cursed

Cursed by Sandra Bendelow. Image by Boz Groden
 
Cursed is an interesting one, a short play produced for the EarCandy project, an audio drama project from a web platform.

It was a really exciting project to be involved in, 13 writers exploring audio-drama, learning what works and doesn't by writing, recording and then presenting the plays. And also very importantly having the plays available so that anyone, anywhere can listen to them - for free.

But Cursed as a short audio drama was created from frustration. A story I'd wanted to tell but hadn't been able to find a way to tell it. It had been bugging me for a really long time. The story of the Bells of Santiago which I'd discovered on one of though random journeys on the web. You know the ones where you click a link and then click another, drawn along a pathway by interesting stories until there it was the Bells of Santiago.

Now bearing in mind that one of my writing obsessions is how objects become imbued with the history around them, a story about a set of bells that hung from a tower in a church in Santiago until a fire which killed over 2,000 killed destroyed the church in which they hung, at which point the bells were transported to the Gower to hang in a church for several hundred years before someone realised their origins and shipped them back to Santiago - yes that's a story which is going to interest me.

Izzy Rabey recording Cursed
It's a story about a horrible tragedy, fire and bells, so it always seemed to be a radio play.

I took the idea to a writing workshop with Kaite O'Reilly and used it as a base for writing exercises, imagining myself as the bell, voiceless, thousands of miles from my home, haunted by a memory of thousands of people screaming when they burned to death.

And yet still I couldn't find the way to tell the story. I still haven't. It's still there waiting for me to find a way in. I'm almost there but it's not quite there yet.

But in the meantime as I tried to think of an idea for a short audio play, the story of the bell came to me and I found myself creating a version of it, drawing some of the elements from it - Swansea, a church fire and then drawing some elements from one of my other writing obsessions - magic.

And so here it is a play about a girl and a bell, both cursed by a tragedy.

The bell magnificiently played by Robert Harper and the girl and every other character played by the amazing Izzy Rabey.

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