Posts Tagged ‘plays’

You may have noticed my lack of a Thursday post this week.  Or not!

I was all set to write about Hedda Gabler, which I was seeing that night, but unfortunately I became ill just before the show started and missed it. And, by default, posting about it.

I didn’t even feel up to explaining!

So this week has been a bit of a blip week.  I lost creative time, I wasn’t in the right mood to write for a few days, and the weekend got super-busy. Still, two good writing things happened:

1. I finally booked my tickets for the crime writing convention – and still have time to enter the flash fiction competition if I fancy.

2. I have agreed to work on some more performances with a musician friend, and we are about to start work on a new set.

Oh and I guess a third, if you’re being generous: I have started getting some ideas together for a new series of poems about the world.  Nothing on paper yet but my need to explore different feelings and experiences lives on, and poetry is the best outlet for it, by far.

In more fun news, I have a few trips away planned and these always bring inspiration and new concepts so I am looking forward to seeing what comes of those.

Also, my ‘writing in different places’ plan hasn’t really played out but there is a whole new option opening (quite literally) soon, which I think will be a real positive for me.

Watch this space, and keep your fingers crossed!

Happy writing,




Read Full Post »

This week I will not talk about my other work (other than this!).

This week, I have got my little anthropomorphised character Fred time travelling to Egypt. He is currently walking on the Giza Plateau to watch the Great Pyramid being constructed. It’s a pretty interesting spectacle for him, because not only has he never seen sand before, but he has never seen a man-made monument before. He’s trying to think it through but really has no idea what is going on.

I am enjoying writing this little tale of intrigue; although it’s a children’s story I am working to get the details right, and yet I can stop as I like so I don’t have to get into too much research detail.

It’s letting me play about with some fun ideas too, and gradually I am starting to feel more ‘writerly’, if you know what I mean.

I’ve also been spurred on by a trip I had to the theatre this weekend, to see a Harold Pinter play called No Man’s Land.  It was described as a comedy but it really wasn’t: there were many points in the script which were funny or slightly unexpected and we audience members laughed out loud, but there was a pathos in it, a sadness and a loneliness that I had not expected.  I am not sure I like the work tragicomic, but it does highlight the way the tale leapt from one emotion to another.

Works like that make me want to test my capabilities, push myself to  produce something thought-provoking.  I know my voice in writing is quite light but that doesn’t mean the content has to be, or that I am limited in genre.

I just have to believe I can do it.

Interestingly enough, this week started with the theatre too, albeit on a somewhat reduced scale – I am back rehearsing for the next am dram performance… Once again I am the principle boy – I’m not sure if it’s typecasting yet but once more and I’ll be sure!

It is clear to me that with everything I have on at the moment I need to be really strict about my daily writing again and with that in mind, I am considering an ‘all in, in October’ premise to share my wordcount.  With Fred as my star, I don’t think it’s going to impact on quality of writing, but will certainly help with the quantity.

I will think about it – if I go for it, you’ll know soon enough!

Until next time – whenever it may be!

Happy writing,



Read Full Post »

I said I’ve been reading a well known series – and that’s what will be the focus of the next few posts.  However, I shall start with the newest:

Book 27 – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. This is a rehearsal script for Jack Thorne’s new play and as it’s very new I will try not to spoil it!

This story starts 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry is a father and works at the Ministry of Magic, and his second child Albus, is about to start his own education at the school.

With the pressure of his name, and an unexpected Sorting, Albus find life complicated and lonely. As time passes and his relationship with his father becomes more and more difficult, and he feels increasingly isolated.  Finally, with his best friend Scorpius – someone whose heritage is as complicated as his own – Albus makes a plan that will change things for everyone…

To confirm: it is a script, I knew it was a script, and I didn’t mind that at all. Also, I am discussing what was on the page only, as I have not seen the play.

Scripts allow you to use your imagination in a different way from novels and that’s quite fun, because you get to define the extent of things – how big is an explosion, what does the inside of a building look like and so on.

What is does mean, though, is that the inner dialogue which is a key part of the 7 books is non-existent. Everything is visible, or in the imagination of the reader. This makes it a very different beast to the previous Potter stories.

The other difference is that Harry is an adult now; we are not really following his story so much as the ramifications of his story. That gives us a chance to see the fallout of the past in a way I found quite satisfying – I was hugely irritated by the ’19 years later’ chapter of the last book but since reading the script I feel much less negative about it.

It’s hard to say much more without a huge spoiler and I think it’s better to read this without knowing it. It’s one of those stories where everything works best when it is revealed at the right time.  My advice is not to read spoiler reviews if you can help it (be aware I link to goodreads which often has spoilers in the reviews).

This isn’t a literary work so can’t really be reviewed as such, but it was an enjoyable and engrossing story.  It took me about 2 hours so isn’t very onerous – people have read it faster, but there’s no need; it’s fun to read the stage directions and spend a few minutes imagining what is happening on stage!

You definitely need knowledge of Harry Potter’s world to understand the links between elements so this isn’t one for people who haven’t read the previous books/seen the films.

If you do read it, it’s probably best to read it as a separate entity rather than as the eighth story: it is after all a visual piece which has a profound impact on the possibilities and the choices made. Plus, the story may be Rowling’s but the stage play isn’t, so there are multiple influences affecting the work.

Happy reading,

Read Full Post »

I forgot completely that I would be away this weekend and for part of next week – time has flown this year and I have not kept up with it! Therefore this post is pre-recorded, so to speak, as is Tuesday’s. Still, at least I remembered before I left…

Yesterday was the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Enjoy his work or not, it has had a profound and lasting impact on English language and on storytelling. His work is still studied in schools, colleges and universities; his plays are constantly in production on the stage and have been filmed for both cinema and TV release; his phrases are still in everyday use.

I was fortunate enough to get tickets to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform yesterday – I will tell you about that on my return.

I have an interest Shakespeare, even though King Lear remains on my ‘do not revisit’ list.  Not quite a soft spot, but maybe it’s forming!

I did not appreciate him in my youth, to be truthful.  However, as I get older, and se performances of his work by countless skilled performers, with staging that has varied from the beautiful colour and magic of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet film to the sparseness of the Donmar Warehouse’s Coriolanus, I understand the longevity.  There are so many ways to interpret and portray the themes in the plays that every time you can see something new.

He was a poet, too; I had one of his more well-known sonnets – sonnet 116 – read at my wedding, something I would never have anticipated in my schooldays!  There is a truth in the words that I struggled to find in other works: it talks not only of the joy and wonderment of love but of the constancy of it in the face of life’s battles.

In my experience, Shakespeare is more powerful on stage than on screen, but the expansive nature of a film probably encourages a wider audience.  See for yourself…

If you get a chance to see his works, do – the worst case is that you don’t enjoy it all that much, but who knows – like me, you could find a new source of inspiration and entertainment!

Happy writing/play-watching,



Read Full Post »

Despite a very busy end to 2015, and a couple of cinema trips to start off 2016, I have got to grips with the whodunnit. I reckon I’ll be finished this week coming, in fact.

I also had a great idea for my next book…

I don’t know if I should go wandering into more books when I have accepted that poetry is probably the most enjoyable writing I can do, and I have a number of part-completed novels sitting around waiting for love or a decent send-off.  But this is an amalgamation of a number of ideas, with pre-existing characters.  It’s a follow-on to my Family Tree novel, the one I may well be self-publishing this year.  That gives me the characters, the structure of the novel, the background stories and so on. It really feels possible, and if nothing else I was to get a document outlining all the key ideas and scenes so I can use it in the future if I want to do so.

Sequels do seem all the rage at the moment, don’t they?  There are whole sets of books being made into films, and films that are part of a franchise are particularly in the news right now.

Which takes me onto the cinema.  One of the films I saw was Star Wars: The Force Awakens and as someone not overly excited by the original trilogy, and very unexcited about the prequel trilogy, I was not entirely sure it was worth seeing this.  But it was enjoyable, and without spoiling anything, I liked to see where some of the original characters went next.

The other film was actually a recorded live theatre performance of The Winter’s Tale.  I studied the play way back in my school days and it’s not my favourite Shakespeare by any stretch of the imagination, but it came to life on screen, being performed as designed, not read by a bunch of teenage schoolgirls.  I appreciated it far more than I did as a student!  My only complaint was that it was a lot more money than a normal cinema ticket, and our seats were rubbish – not ones I would have chosen at a real theatre!

Still, it’s all inspirational – seeing worlds expand, seeing words come alive when performed, seeing someone bring an Elizabethan play into a Victorian setting and make it real for a 21st century audience – these are the things that make me want to create.  They make me want to write, to explore, to explain the world in its multitudinous different ways.

It is this inspiration that gives me a push when I need it – no writer can rely on inspiration entirely, but if I can feel inspired to build on what I have done, it helps get me through to the finish line. It awakens my fingers, my mind, even if it is unrelated to the story I am telling.

So here’s to a finish line that I can see coming up in the next few days, and to a week fuelled by the writer within.

Here’s to 2016.

Happy writing,



Read Full Post »

I have just got back home from the cinema and I have to tell you all about it!

As you may know, the National Theatre here in the U.K. record certain performances and screen them in cinemas. The performances may be from another theatre company in partnership, but it’s done under the NT banner. The screenings are available in multiple countries; in the U.K. they appear at most cinemas.

So today I went to see something that I had originally considered getting tickets for at the theatre: Coriolanus.

The lead role was performed by Tom Hiddleston, a fantastic actor who is probably most well known as Loki in the Thor/Avengers films but who trained as a stage actor.

I have never read Coriolanus and it’s probably not one of the most commonly studied Shakespearean tales but it was a very powerful play. I held my breath, averted my eyes, cried and gasped at various points in the performance.

It would be impossible for me to get tickets to all the plays I would want to see but this was a fantastic alternative.   I think this is a brilliant way to make theatre accessible and to engage people who haven’t seen a play, ballet, opera before. My husband and I are already talking about what we want to see next.

But of course, people need to know these screenings are on if they are going to enjoy them, and that is why I am telling you 🙂

I love seeing different performances and experiencing different stories and if you do too, it’s definitely worth having a look to find out what’s going on near you.  It’ll never beat the physicality of a live performance but it beats missing out on theatre altogether!

Happy viewing,

Read Full Post »

This week I managed to finish something – hurrah!

Book 39 – A Midsummer’s Night Dream, by William Shakespeare.  I chose this for a few reasons: I had it to hand, I’ve never read it, it seemed like a good idea at the time, I love watching it performed…  Some reasons are more reasonable than others!

Before I start, I’ll remind you that I read Doctor Faustus a little while ago and rather liked it; I found it a relief not to have to fight through the rhyme scheme of a Shakespeare.  So when I say I found some of Midsummer’s Night a little overwrought you’ll know I came with a viewpoint already formed!

The joy of Shakespeare is the way the words come alive when spoken, especially when spoken by a great actor in a great location; that is what I experienced when I went to see Midsummer’s Night performed at The Globe.  For me, reading it off the page doesn’t give the play the spark of magic that brings it all to life.

I enjoyed the lightness of the comedy, the speed in which the characters are sketched out and subsequently filled in through both their own speeches and those around them.  I enjoyed the sense of the ridiculous.  Although the rhyming couplets aren’t my favourite thing there were some lines that were clever and energising, and whenever you read Shakespeare you can understand why so many terms have become common parlance – they are apt and attractive.

What was less appealing were some of the characters themselves – Oberon, as King of the Fairies, is like other Shakespeare characters (eg King Lear) in thinking the world should turn on his command; I find this irritating as a reader and my lack of sympathies with Oberon and Puck do affect my responses to them.  I also find the Athenian women a little shrewish and unattractive.

Shakespeare is proof positive that there is no such thing as an original story too: within the play is another play, which ends in a very similar manner to Romeo and Juliet!

Despite Shakespeare being widely studied in literature courses, my personal view is that he didn’t write to be read but to be seen.  His plays work beautifully on stage and with actors reading lines with accent and inflection, the whole sense of a scene can change.  I am glad I read this, as it was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time – but next time I have a yearning for Shakespeare I’ll find a play to watch, and experience it as he designed.

Happy reading



Read Full Post »

This week I only managed one book – but what a book to have tried, I was clearly delirious when I picked it…!

Book 25 – Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe.  I have long thought that Kit Marlowe is unfairly missed from school reading lists: not only a contemporary of Shakespeare, he has the added mystique of a violent death and an arrest warrant out for him when he died, aged just 29.  He is the type of character that would be at least infamous in the public eye nowadays.

Anyway – onto the book!  This was actually a play and as such I can’t really judge it like a book.  It was in Elizabethan English which made reading it a challenge but it wasn’t as dense or complex, reading-wise, as some of the Shakespeare plays I’ve read and I was able to follow it pretty easily.

The story follows Faustus as he offers up his soul to the devil in exchange, ostensibly, for knowledge and power.  The cast involves humans, angels and devils and as such runs from good to bad and everything in between.

As a play the pacing was inevitably different from that of a book – I found the whole thing a little rushed but there were a few good examples of how far Faustus was prepared to push his own morality in the knowledge that it didn’t matter.  His sudden fear at the end of the play as to how he would cope in purgatory was rather less effective than may be hoped; he made the choice in knowledge of the outcome, benefitted from his pact for over 2 decades, and used his strength against others, so any sudden change of heart was a little late in the day!

In terms of structure, I am used to the rhyming couplets of Shakespeare which don’t appear as regularly here – there is much of the play that appears to be in genuine prose style as we would see it now.  This in a large part accounts for the ease of reading – there is no tortured sentence structure required.

All in all, I’d say read it if you want to get a wider perception of Elizabethan tastes – as well as some Philip Sidney, my next Elizabethan to try!

Happy reading



Read Full Post »

I went to brunch (sounds much posher than a late breakfast, doesn’t it?!) with my lovely cousin and her gorgeous son this week.

As is so often the case when I’m with people, sooner or later books come up in conversation. It got me thinking about how sociable books actually are.

My mum taught me to read before I went to school, so from a very early age books were a shared activity. Fast forward to English Literature classes, where we discussed the text in detail, through to university where we would share textbooks, or where I took books into my temping jobs and people would ask about them.

Now, I have a writing group, and a reading group, both of which are, fundamentally, book-based social events. We see films of books, either with friends, or family; sometimes as a date.  We watch them on screen and on stage, we hear them on our ipods.  We have special ones for certain times of the year, or for important events. And we pass them on, sharing books we have loved with our children, our nieces or nephews. They in turn will do the same.

I love escaping to the privacy and quiet of a book, and I love the peace I get sitting comfortably, with a book in my hands. But I love the discussion too – and the joy of books is that you can have both.  When reading is part of your job, you’re a very lucky person. __________________________________________________________________________________________ The reading challenge continued this week with just one completed book:

Book 6 – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.  This is another story I half-know, from films.  It’s utterly bonkers, really; there are some wonderful details and plenty of ideas that I can imagine I’d have loved as a child.  The Queen of Hearts is both frightening and ludicrous, as is her husband; the White Rabbit is officious and the Mad Hatter is not as mad as you might think!  The downsides are that Alice herself is fairly frustrating, and that the end just sort of… happens.  I wanted more, and it almost felt as though I’d turned over too many pages and missed a bit.  Overall, I can see why this has an enduring popularity, and I can imagine the delight a child would take in some of the ideas, but I wish the last chapter was different!

Moby Dick has gone from my reading challenge life.  I read a line that made me question why on earth I was persevering, and I stopped.  Other American classics will take its place though!

Until next time,

Happy reading!



Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: