Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rhonda - the second draft

Ok, I had to blog to say that I have gotten to the second draft. And I feel good about it. I have made some changes, cut a few things here and there and have tightened up some of the dialogue - mainly Lief's and the Students.

Today when I read it I found myself much more caught up in the story and that hasn't happened for me in a long time. I think that it still might need a non verbal scene which eludes me, but it will come, I have faith.

I definitely see Hannie and Wayne's points about finding the humour in the script. It seems key to me now, given the subject matter. I am not actively writing more jokes, but hoping to pursue that more with the actors.

If you read this blog, then come to the reading for Rhonda is in Therapy on 3rd September at 45 Downstairs in Melbourne (45 Flinders lane, city). 7.30 pm. It's a free event.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Research - Fury

I now understand more fully the amount of research that will be needed for "Fury". It's probably good anyway as it means that I can actively think about the project, but not write. Seeing that I am still writing another play and all. I like to finish one before I start another one - short plays excepted.

I have heard some very sad stories since I started this topic, re bullying and the cyber world. God knows there is a lot of information online. I am hoping to talk to some teens about it, and also some people actually involved in the aftermath. It all hinges on how comfortable people feel about talking to me.

Anyway, the topic of this post was Research, this is not something that I ordinarily do a lot of for my plays - mainly because I don't usually base my plays solidly around a factual phenomena (like cyber bullying). My plays have, in the past, been to do with fictional accounts around relationships. I think Fury will be that too, but it needs a sound basis in reality and also I need a bit of statistical evidence before I go grandly making some bold statements regarding who and why and how.

Other playwrights that I know, successful one's - wot make a living from it, spend a lot of time on research. This is because often they have been commissioned to write about "sumfing" and that thing has to be looked into, Or they are writing about "sumwun" and that person has a real life. I guess that part of the journey of Fury for me, is learning to take a real issue and think about how to theatrically present that without too many gimmicks and also without too much sentimentality. I am not one for sentimentality.

The other day the opening of the play popped into my head, so even though I'm not officially writing the play yet, it has begun to write itself, which usually happens with good ideas.

Before Rhonda I never shown a partial draft of anything to anyone. I have now overcome my superstitious fears and hope that I will be able to apply the same sort of development to Fury that I did to Rhonda.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I am starting a new play concept.

"Already?!", they cry!

"Yes indeed", I coyly reply.

Not one to sit on my laurels, not I! What are laurels? Where are they? On my bottom I suppose.

I am very interested in Greek Chorus at the moment. I like the facelessness of chorus and have always loved the beautiful, interesting and powerful things that groups of people can do. Bodies and voices can be very confronting. So my next play idea is working with chorus, the internet, bullying and of course....death.

My concepts of chorus were developed and fostered by Dr Michael Cathcart, the amiable and talented historian cum director cum comedian cum friend. It is a lovely synchronicity to me that Hannie Rayson, his equally talented and extraordinary wife is a writing mentor of mine (and also a writing idol). What a couple.

Anyhoo, it was Michael that really showed me how voice and body can be used on stage to create entire worlds and soundscapes. It is his ideas that are rattling in my skull now and making me think about the ways that five women could be used on stage to make virtual societies and environments come to life.

Five women. You heard me. I have long said that I write thinking about women, and good roles for women. Well, this play will put my money (if I had any) where my mouth is. More news to come.

Working title "Fury". 

Rhonda is in Therapy - The first Reading

For those that are interested in the evolution of "Rhonda" - we had a reading of the full script on Weds 7th and it was interesting and fairly enlightening.

It was clear after the reading finished that we are going to need to have a partial moved reading. The big plan prior to reading it was that the actors would conduct the entire reading seated. But the play definitely loses something without the "lightening" influence of the multiple sex scenes. Oh, I see, NOW you're more interested aren't you, after I said 'multiple sex scenes'. :)

But actually they are energetic and a bit slapstick in places and they give the play a very light and bouncy energy for the opening, otherwise it's a bit... um... dour. Which isn't so good. So yes, the actors will have to, at least minimally, mime the sex. The rest of the play is reading a bit better. I did say that I was trying to make Lief's journey a bit more real and three dimensional, but in doing so I've made him yell more. So that's had to be cut back a bit (Sorry to Ben, for all the yelling).

And now, we have one more rehearsal on Aug 22 and then we're up on Sep 3. I hope that the reading can convey the strengths of the script and I hope that the weaknesses get overlooked. Until I understand better how to jimmy them.

I'll be letting people know when the reading is and the time and booking numbers etc (it's a free event). See you there.