boat gypsies-readings

July 21, 2009

In rehearsal tomorrow for the reading of Boat Gypsies Thursday at Lakeside Theatre. Five projects have been developed as part of writers lab09. The writers are “The Cliffs” by Leah Chillery, “The Honey Man” by Tyrone Huggins, “Palm Wine and Stout” by Segun Lee French, “Today’s Lesssons” by Richard Rai O’Neill and “Boat Gypsies” by myself.

Two of the five are in rehearsal today, the rest tomorrow and thursday am. Then run through thursday morning and then showcase to rural touring producers artistic directors and the like 2pm thursday afternoon.

I’ll have to do some rewriting no doubt which is to be expected as this wil be the first time the script is on its feet and not simply on a page so looking forward to that. Ivan Cutting is directing my piece.

Looking forward to seeing the other pieces. The three that i’ve heard discussed during the development over the course of the year all sounded really interesting and the writers had a sense of where they would go so looking forward to that.

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Boat Gypsies-Research trip

June 4, 2009

Had a really useful trip on a canal boat today. Many thanks to danny kaye my pilot and boat owner. I was mainly trying to sort out how to make the boat sink but have now confirmed my decision to just have a leak. This is much more plausible and realistic.

Riding on the boat was great, I have seen plan views but the actual experience of travelling in one and also speaking to someone knowledgeable coupled with the sights and sounds left me feeling this was a really useful trip.


Boat Gypsies-Rural Touring Project

May 15, 2009

Had the interim meeting day yesterday for the writers’ Lab 09 project. Five writers, myself included have been selected to develop an idea suitable for rural touring venues. There will be a rehearsed reading of extracts from each play presented on 23rd July  to rural touring producers so we are all working towards that.

Yesterday involved discussion of each project and then feedback from all involved, writers and artist director’s /company managers.

really useful day and some good notes to take forward for my project. The writing process was very different for all of us so that was good to see.

the next major step for me is to start doing some technical research on canal boats and some serious character biog work.

Deadline for casting is end of June, deadline for extract draft is mid-july. I have a very busy next two/three months with three projects on the go and potentially a short film drama also to add to that and a trip to Brisbane, Oz for a week to fit in!!


Boat Gypsies-Rural Touring Project

May 8, 2009

Sent my interim draft off this morning in preparation for the Writers Lab09 interim meeting next week.

This is part of the notes I added for the readers:

“The play is about the idea that you have to kill your  parents a little in order to progress. They know this and we know this. The play takes the position that this ‘death’ is one of life’s essential points. We are not our parents, at least not when we are young, and they and we must act to make this apparent, to them and to us”

The draft takes us to the interval (which I am actually undecided about having).

Next week Tyrone Huggins, Leah Chillery, myself and Segun Lee French are there as writers with Kate Chapman (TWP), Ivan Cutting (Eastern Angles) and Daniel Buckroyd (New Perspectives).

The other crucial element to understanding the draft is:

” running from parents, authority and in that running they are growing, creating new self-identities as young adults. For the first time, not identities framed through their parents”

The idea is we discuss whatever each writer has produced up until this point (scripts, notes, research, etc) and see what happens as regards feedback and where each writer wants to take it in preparation for readings based on full drafts,  July 23rd.

incidentally I posted a few days ago about each the eastern angles and new perspectives companies’ current touring shows. Click on the link to see tour schedules. Both shows well worth seeing in you are in the vicinities.


Boat Gypsies- rural touring project

May 5, 2009

Really enjoying this project. I intended to have a draft done by this interim point but am not going to make that self-imposed deadline due to drift and illness. Decided a few days ago to try and get a really tight first half.
I always imagined an interval and wrote a treatment with that in mind but am now considering whether this is necessary. The two plays I saw last week were very different and have given me a number of contrasting useful thoughts.
Enjoying the draft and as usual not sticking to my treatment. I use them as sketches and am continually developing and incorporating new ideas and extending ones that are in the treatment already. I use treatments as jumping off points, guides and conversation/discussion points. This sometimes causes problems. Process will out. Check out the Double Diamond design process for an idea of one of my methods.


rural touring project- interim deadline

April 24, 2009

Interim stage meeting to discuss Boat Gypsies project on 18th May. So imagine i’ll have to get draft done by the end of the first week in May. Giving twp a few days to circulate.

Might just make it. I dont HAVE to get one done, this is simply a ‘where are you at, lets have a look at the pages and then discuss it’ meeting  but I like to get a draft out so I can get a sense of what I am doing and then move on from there.  It is also really important for me to get this feedback so I can see how many of the ideas I am exploring are hitting home for the reader, to hear new suggestions and to buy myself some thinking not writing time before embarking on the next draft.

This draft is surprising me even though I’ve written a treatment but think I will struggle at the moment to sustain the story as the driver I have is a little weak and unsustainable.


rural touring project- treatment feedback

March 18, 2009

Received some feedback on my Boat Gypsies treatment for my rural touring project. Ivan Cuttings from Eastern Angles is mentoring the project alongside the Theatre Writing Partnership.

Here’s a sample of the feedback.

There’s good stuff here and the setting and characters are potentially rich territory and possibly good theatre (though some of the demands are more filmic).

I like the wit and the sense of jockeying for position in a world suddenly denuded of adults and the freedom and indecision this brings. Suddenly they are asked to be adults and find their own motivations and desires.

Having said that I feel the piece desperately needs a driving mechanism. At the moment it’s drifting along with a series of moments, not always played to their full hilt, and a complete lack of urgency.

This is not helped by your style of treatment, which focuses too much on the clever lines they are going to say, which are clever and I enjoyed them, but which tends to indicate these are the stars of the piece instead of the characters themselves. Instead I needed much more of how their journey develops both practically (leaking, directions, fuel, eating) and emotionally (I want to get off, I need some space, who’s driving this, who’s running it) and the outside events (police looking for them, hospital trying to contact, guy on the run with firework bag (?), assessment insurers, lockgates etc) so that this potentially very good dialogue always surprises us and takes us as we’re concentrating on something else.”

Me and my ‘filmic demands’!

I generally agree. I work from images first and then lines and then narrative and then plot. So I agree about the lack of urgency but think it’s important that I keep some elements of drift as these characters drift along on the boat. Then piece has it, so it is inherent, in its bones so it can then be picked up on and played. What I will do next writing wise is to start working on characters, then narrative then plot, then dialogue. Writing generally as I go along with only some of these thmes developed. Then i go back redrafting as I go. It may not be how others do it but it works for me. Check out this series to see other writers talking about their process. The Dialogue.

Due to chat to Ivan this week to start writing next week hopefully.


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