Sunday, December 12, 2010

The 48 Hour challenge

So I did the 48 Hour challenge with The Melbourne Theatre Collective. This involved meeting the other writers on Friday night, getting our "parameters", writing a play Saturday morning and then seeing it performed Sunday night. I've done exactly the same thing in 24 hours about 5 years ago (so I was totally like, "whateva" - yuh...).

I actually quite like these little challenges I think that they stretch the writing muscle and that it needn't result in bad scripts, quite the opposite after what I saw on Sunday night.

One friend complained bitterly at me that "this type of thing" was actually not helpful to the industry at all, as it takes the emphasis off carefully thought out and planned scripts. I am inclined to agree, but that didn't stop me taking part. Or rather, I agreed with Liz in that I also believe that one of the big issues in this country is underprepared scripts, but I still like having fun and I'm not dead yet.

Parameters:
Theme: Ticket to nowhere
Line: "What's for dinner?"
Character: Layla - mid 30's, art curator with a masters in something that slips my mind. Likes to travel.
Final line to include: "It's going to be ok".

So they were quite stringent really, more than I was expecting. But they weren't constricting and really to be honest when I got down to writing I didn't find them an issue. I left the briefing not really having an idea and so met with a friend for tapas who proceeded to relate a (fairly devastating) history to me -something they had heard about. I took that idea and then wrote the play the next morning. Took about 2.5 hours.

The weekend this was happening turned out to be the busiest weekend that I had the entire year and so I wasn't involved in anything else to do with the 48 hour project apart from supplying the script.  I turned up Sunday evening ready for anything.

So, I've debated about how honest to be in this blog, Howe much to discuss and how much to leave out. And I have decided to say how I felt as unemotionally as I can. I was disappointed. I had felt that the script was pretty good, not a masterpiece, sure, but still solid. I felt that a bad casting decision was made and I wasn't happy with direction. But then, I'm a known control freak. So perhaps it's simply not possible to please me.

That said I thought that the night was well organised - hats off to MTC - and that there was some really nice work done by the playwrights.  Jane Miller was great as always, Scott McAteer, thought provoking, Cerise De Gelder - both disgusting and also funny - and these were just the highlights, I really thought that everyone had come up with something good.

I'd definitely do it again, it was fun. And the outcome is that I have a little script - she's up on Scribd - I think that you can look for free - http://www.scribd.com/doc/44942275/Greta-Alone
(note that the lead characters name was originally Layla as per the brief, but she's become Greta)

I am going to try and use Scribd more, and put some other shorties up there.

Rhonda: I have cleaned the script to a third draft and submitted it for a prize which I'm not talking about. Cos I'm superstitious. Hopefully the play will go on in late 2011 or early 2012.