Wednesday, February 08, 2017

So I'm trying this thing. I'm ridiculously coy about it because I've never done it before. And I don't know if it's going to work. And I don't know if my poor workshop-ees will end up hating me. Not just hating me passively but actively, passionately despising me for wasting their time. 

But the professionals do it, I figured, so there must be something to it. So I thought I'd give it a try. 

I've written this play, see. It's been sitting on my hard drive for such a long time now that I'm beginning to think it'll miss its moment if it doesn't get let out soon. But because so many writers seem to start a rehearsal process with one script and end up somewhere else altogether, I thought that might be a way to make it better. 

Fancifulness aside, and given that our actors often have day jobs and limited capacity for learning rewrites with two days to go, I thought I'd split out the script workshopping bit and the rehearsing bit. So I've just started a series of four workshops with seven very kindly willing victims. I'll frantically rewrite the script, theoretically as we go. And then to make sure I follow through, I've set myself a public read through date. 22 March. I'm sure this is just how Shakespeare worked.
It's about a photographer, Ty, who gets a little bit obsessed with trying to find the perfect image of beauty. He tries ever so very hard to make it work with adults - but what do you know? They're simply not beautiful enough. So he turns to teenagers. Here "he" is (and isn't it funny that though there isn't a camera in sight, you "see" the camera?!) with his first attempt. Tiffany has done this a hundred times before so is fully confident that she'll be the star of his forthcoming exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. 
But the media get wind of his exploits. And there've been so many stories in the press recently about grown men being inappropriate with much younger people that Justine, our down on her luck journalist, scents blood.
We played around on Sunday with the first photo session, with a fight between Ty and his long-suffering agent, a face-off between Tiffany and Ty's girlfriend and a possible scene between Justine and a couple of Ty's young models. 
Hats off to my workshoppees. They made improv look effortless. Ty's girlfriend Heloise even had something of a French accent by the time we were done. (I would love her to be French - but is that really practical??) Thank you to all of you. You gave me bundles of food for thought. I felt like Dumbledore with his wand, sucking the memories out of people's heads in a single silvery strand and dispatching them to his (my) pensieve. I hope the pensieve reveals an excellent play to me by the time we're done.  
(Thanks to Matt for the great pics!)


Blogger Dan Sutton said...

I shall be very interested in hearing about the workshop process, either during or after.

2:20 pm  

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