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I HAVE made it. I am famous in my own back yard. I have appeared in an article in the Guardian because I am a published playwright.
Move over Shakespeare.
Move over Ernie Wise.
The play wot I wrote tells how I came to be brain damaged and why I walk round with only half my marbles.
It took me years to finish because, let’s face, it I am not a great writer. I am a trier.
It isn’t easy trying to become Allan Ayckbourn or Harold Pinter. Would you believe it Steven Spielberg has never been off the phone trying to buy the film rights to ‘A Stroke of Luck’?
Maybe he believes stroke stories are the media movers and shakers of today and war and chick flicks are on the wain.
I don’t recall any hero in literature being famous for having a stroke.
Some have made the news for stroking where they should not have been stroking but that is something very different and sells papers.
I don’t remember if we have ever had a stroke on Coronation Street. Maybe I should send them a copy of the script and show them how it’s done.
Talking of Corrie, I have been beside my self since Becky left I believe she was to Steve McDonald what Ms Nomates is to me. We are like Ying and Yang. That means Chinese Corrie characters or is it curry? We are sweet and sour. We are Spud U Like and coleslaw. We are egg and bacon. Need I go on? I’m getting hungry.
They were soul mates as we are.
I can still hear Becky’s scream as she leapt over the bar to strangle him and the next minute she was pontificating on how much she loved her ‘Stevie Boy’.
The great thing about the writers of Corrie is that they certainly do manage to create a very individual timbre for each character and this in my opinion is the secret of creating great performance pieces.
Does anybody out there write plays or is interested at all in the process? It is very different to writing a novel.
It is always being said that there is a book in all of us. No there is not. Some people are too boring to have even a short story in their heads.
Time and time again it has been said to me, ‘you should write a book about your days on the road as a pop star’. I myself think it is a ridiculous idea but just to put a feeler out and test the water I’ll try a sample passage and see what you think.
Here goes: We all got in to the van, travelled to a club somewhere, unloaded the gear, set it up, played two spots, loaded the van, went home via the chippy and went to bed’.
Or We all got in to the van, travelled to a club somewhere, unloaded the gear, set it up, played two spots, loaded the van, someone tried to chat a girl up and got punched by her boyfriend and then went home via the chippy and went to bed’.
Or We all got in to the van, travelled to a club somewhere, unloaded the gear, set it up, played two spots, loaded the van, went home via the chippy only to find the chippy was closed so we spent half the night trying to find a takeaway and went home to bed’.
How’s that for a best seller? Nobody expects that to be the way rock and roll works but believe me it does.
Now, had we played a spot in The Rover Return, I have no doubt we could have been bigger than The Beatles.
Anyway as usual I digress. I like writing plays. I am not saying I am any good, but I am trying. According to Ms Nomates I am very trying. She doesn’t mind going to watch a play to keep me company but she hates to read mine.
I need help. Is there a play doctor in the house? As a writer you have to hear the words coming back to you in order to feel your characters and then you can begin to mould them. Hark at me, I sound as though I am doing an interview for Radio Four.
I try all kinds of tricks to give each character a different voice. I use pictures or models so that I can imagine what they look like. Once I have an image I can find an intonation. Once I have the voice I make them say things that only they would say, if that makes sense.
Ena Sharples for example would never sound sexy or even mention the ‘S’ word and Ken Barlow would never say something like ‘I have to hurry, I’ve left a pan of chips on’.
Hilda Ogden would never in a million years have told Stan it was pigeon pie for tea, not even in jest.
You do see what I mean don’t you?
People who will read scripts for you are very thin on the ground. Some are also very thin on top, which proves that ‘am dram’ still remains the province of the ageing population.
Ma Nomates, my mum, bless her, does try her best to help. Being in her 80s with limited eyesight and the ability to drop off to sleep at the drop of a hat, especially when reading, she finds it a challenge to do a script justice.
Let’s face it I can hardly expect her to act as well as someone like Meryl Streep but to her credit, she can do a great Julie Walters in the ‘Soup of the Day’ sketch. Or maybe my scripts are just boring?
My latest project is what I would class as an adult drama.
There is no really bad language just the odd little swear word. The kind you hear when some one hits their finger with a hammer.
There are no graphic sex scenes and there is no nudity and no violence. ‘Not the best format for today’s market’, I hear you scoff but still you have to be able to hear the dialogue back so that you can tell if it works.
This is where Ma Nomates comes in. She will at least try to read whatever I put in front of her.
Unfortunately she is no longer playing with a full deck. She read the back of the cornflakes packet twice only to tell me there wasn’t much action in the script.
Mother was playing the part of the rather sophisticated older woman and I was playing the part of her young gigolo.
The first hurdle to overcome was to explain to my mother what a gigolo is. She thought it was someone who giggles a lot. She also used to believe that lesbians lived in the Lebanon.
In the script, the two characters, while the stage is in darkness, have to make sounds of passion and then enter when the light comes up and make out as if they are just finishing getting dressed. We skipped that bit for obvious reasons. Some things are just not acceptable.
In the opening scene, I, the gigolo, had to say ‘you only want me for my body’.
My mother forgot where she was and said ‘I gave birth to you’.
I pointed out to her that she ought to say what is ‘on the page’. I showed her, her line and she delivered it. ‘I want you, I need you, my heart’s on fire, come to me, come to me wild desire’.
I very quickly came to realise that it is impossible to play a raunchy scene with your mother but beggars can’t be choosers.
Ms Nomates would never in a million years say to me, ‘I want you, I need you, my heart’s on fire, come to me, come to me wild desire’.
She would be more likely to say, ‘don’t just sit there at that computer writing rubbish, get off your big fat backside and do some housework!’ I do need some volunteer readers. Can anybody help?
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