So we’re on day two of rehearsals and the script’s been tightened up considerably. I think as a writer you never get a complete idea of how a piece will work until someone external picks the script apart a little and asks the awkward questions. I have to admit this can be the hardest part of writing plays.
I was very lucky last year to be on the Everyman Young Writer’s Programme and to have a play I was writing (which was appalling) workshopped. My director that day was Matt Rutter (of Big Wow) who tore the script to shreds, brutally assessing every line, questioning they’re value and ripping out page after page. It was devastating but also the most useful lesson in writing I’ve learn in a long time. You see every comment he made was correct, improved the script and pushed it forward. Check out Big Wow’s work, sparing, sharp and very rarely anything frivolous or self indulgent. Asking “what’s the point” of a lot of things can help gain clarity.
I’ve just been typing up my notes, we’ve cut a few paragraphs, reworked bits, taken out several sections that just made us laugh (I used the phrase “well that line’s a load of pretentious bollocks isn’t it”) because i’ve tried to be too clever in the writing.
As director as well there is always going to be a conflict of interest. People always say you shouldn’t direct your own work. I think you should only direct your own work if you’re prepared to be wrong regularly but demand that people prove it to you. We’ll see how it works.
I have been given two bits of advice. One from the wonderfully talented Dan Sherer about making an impact at the start and the end and the middle will take care of itself, and the other from Damian Cruden years ago of have a good set and the audience will forgive you a lot. Both at the forefront of my mind right now!
Keep well, Sam x