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Another miracle

January 16, 2021

First the voters of Georgia elect two Democratic senators and now this – another miracle.

It’s been so long I’m surprised I recognised the feeling when it surfaced. But suddenly there it was: What if?

That’s how That’s Nice sprang into being. What if I can incorporate that joke into a play?

That’s how An Unhelpful Complication was born: What if it’s a story about a journalist (yes, I was thinking Tilly, although that’s not what I named her) and a politician with a Big Secret in his past?

And that’s how it started two nights ago.

As I mentioned the other day, the local theatre group is currently looking for one-act plays to perform online in the spring. I’d given up on trying to write anything, even though I’d told some people that I was going to do so. It’s been so long since I’d had even the germ of an idea, I’d pretty much given up.

I don’t know. Perhaps it was as a simple of having a very good day earlier in the week. Or maybe it was noticing when I was in the library on Thursday that someone had actually borrowed their copy of Unethical Practices. It was a reminder that I used to be a writer.

I was in bed reading Thursday night when it happened. What if? I put my book aside, grabbed my journal and started scribbling.

“What if it’s a director and some actors working on a Zoom rehearsal for scenes from Shakespeare play? Which play? What scenes? Need to work on this with Garry.” (A friend who is a fine Shakespearean actor.) “Or could my radio play be fit in somehow? A Divine Comedy. Maybe. Let’s have a think. How many characters are there? 1. Shakespeare. 2. Anne. 3. Queen Elizabeth. 4. Earl. 5. Bishop. 6. Thomas. 7. Dean. Plus the Innkeeper and the maid, who could be missing. And 8. The Director.

YES!”

I almost got out of bed at one in the morning to start work, but restrained myself, forced myself to read a few more pages of my book, then turned the lights out.

Got up yesterday morning and got to work.

So. A Divine Comedy. What’s that?

Back in the mid 1980s, when I was dividing my time between freelancing and trying to launch a career script writing, I found out the BBC was running a competition for new half hour radio plays. I could do that, I thought. But what should it be about? Then I remembered a conversation I’d had in the pub one night with my actor mate Richard. At one point we’d found ourselves speculating about why Shakespeare had never tackled religion in any of his plays. What if he had written such a play but had never been able to get it performed? That’s pretty much where the conversation ended until I heard about that BBC competition. I got in touch with Richard, who helped me out by writing some Shakespearean lines to include from the imagined play. Simply reading it out loud by myself in my flat didn’t really tell me how long it was. Had I reached the half hour? Was it over? Under? I needed it to be read properly, so I invited Richard and my actress friend Annie over to do a reading. My god, what a thrill that was: hearing lines I’d written being spoken by professional actors! It was absolute heaven. Both Richard and Annie loved the play.

Sadly, the BBC, not so much. No feedback was offered by Auntie, so I’ve no idea what the judges thought. I only knew I hadn’t won.

Annie liked the play so much that she devised a scheme to get together with some “resting” thespian chums to try to put it on as pub theatre. That didn’t come to anything. Neither did a similar plan a few years later by another actor friend in Toronto, who also loved the play when he read it. Since then A Divine Comedy has been resting. A hard copy in the filing cabinet, an electronic copy on my computer.

Until yesterday when I sat down at the computer and started cannibalising it for another play. Well, what the hell? It’s my play. I can cannibalise it if I want.

Six hours later I had the first draft of a new(ish) one-act play.

I think it’s quite funny. I know it’s still a first draft and still needs work, but I think there’s something there.

Overflowing with excitement, I rang a friend to ask her to read it and let me know what she thinks. No message when I checked my emails first thing this morning, but one just in saying she loves it! She wants to sit down and read it again before we talk.

OH, MY GOD! I’ve written something!

From → Writing

3 Comments
  1. Rhododave permalink

    That’ great, can’t wait to read it

  2. Donna permalink

    Yippee!

  3. krysross permalink

    Congrats. Do I get to read it?

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