Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Play's The Thing

I've been stalling and putting off work on my novel for some reason, but I have decided that I will edit my first play instead.

The reason is simple. My drama group put on an excellent version of Noises Off last weekend and we're always short of a play or two and someone to direct. We have a play lined up for May 2015, so there's a gap for November next year, and I decided to try and see if I can get the play put on.

As I've gone through the first act I've noticed a few minor faults, but the overall story hangs together quite well. So, with a few week's work ahead of me I could potentially have it all ready by the end of the year, have the reading committee look at it in the new year and be directing from September 2015 onwards with the play being performed around the last week of November. As far I can see, I have nothing to lose by trying.

One of things I wanted to do with this play was take the focus away from the set and onto the actors and the story. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, amateur groups don't have a lot of money, so by having a basic set it cuts down on the amount we have to spend. Secondly, amateur groups have to do everything themselves, including building the set. As they are also short of people, this means a lot falls on a few shoulders. By keeping the set simple, it can be put up and papered one day, painted black the next.

Another thing I've focused on is keeping the cast size small. It can comfortably be done by six people, 3 male, 3 female. The 3 women are among the main characters, as is one of the men. The other 2 men play several roles, though some of these can be played by women. It's designed to be flexible.

I've also tried to make the story as simple as possible so it can be set in any part of the world and in most time periods. Adapting it for the modern age is easy enough, as would be adapting it for earlier times, even though it's set in late 17th/early 18th century England. The themes of dominance and family are worldwide.

I'll keep you up to date with it and, as of now, I have edited the first act on paper and need to transfer that to the screen.

Have fun, and I'll see you on Friday.

p.s. Still don;t have a proper title for it yet.


Chloe said...

I love Noises Off! Your play sounds like it could be an Ayckbourn, if it was set in the modern day. And that's a compliment!

Martin Willoughby said...

That is a big compliment. Thank you.

Lexa Cain said...

That's exciting! I can't imagine writing a play. The dialog has to carry everything, and that's my weakness. Good luck with it!

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Surely this is a site well worth seeing.

Martin Willoughby said...

Thank you Lexa. I find dialogue a lot easier than description.