Posts Tagged ‘theatre’

I don’t write comedy. I might have amusing scenes, or light-hearted poetry, but I am not someone who is skilled at the laugh out loud moments.  I’m thinking about this, because this week I went to see the funniest play I can remember, The Play That Goes Wrong

Comedy is most definitely an art.  Depending on the nature – physical, reflective, political – completely different skill sets are needed.  For writing, it’s also about picking the perfect words.

I don’t think I have ever really appreciated the art involved in creating a funny, engaging, novel. Most of the comedic poetry I have discovered is quite light, nothing to get you thinking too deeply, but that isn’t the same with a book.

For novels, there’s got to be engagement and sustained levels of comedy over 70,000 or more words.  It sounds impossible!

I am trying to think of a few that are genuinely comedies (rather than simply witty or light-hearted) and am going to have to review a few.  I would really like to understand how it can be done!

I am never likely to write a truly comedy novel, but I might see how to tie in a few more smiles for readers.

Plus, what a great project to see me through the autumn: books to make me laugh!

If you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments…

Happy laughing!



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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,




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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,



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I didn’t go to my theatre-at-the-cinema trip this week due to my poorly husband not being able to come with me so today I wanted to share an alternative snippet of theatre as an alternative…

Here’s a bit of Wolf Hall, not as tv, but as a stage show.  I love this scene because it’s stripped back, and all that matters is how the characters interact.  That’s part of the magic of theatre – as an audience member, belief is suspended and all that you can see is the performance.  Wonderful!

Happy viewing!



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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,

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This time, the inspiration is a big one – a whole city, in fact.

My partner and I were in London to watch a play this week; we watched a matinée performance and when we came out it was after five and there were hundreds of people trailing out of offices and so on.

Rather than fight our way through all the crowds, we slowly ambled to Trafalgar Square where we admired the extremely tall Christmas tree, listened to the carol singers, and spent a moment at a tribute for Nelson Mandela.  The fact that the tribute was near Nelson’s Column only occurred to me after I was home.

London Calling

Fountain at Trafalgar Square, with Nelson’s column to the right, two of the lions visible.

London is a place of contrasts, and it is the contrasts which fuel my imagination.

Take the army of workers making their way home – they are blind to the city around them as they pass the tourists with their cameras and excited faces.  All of them walk by the homeless in their sleeping bags.

Or look at the varied architecture – from neo classical Georgian buildings to glass skyscrapers, to a reimagined Tudor theatre.

I remember being at Shakespeare’s Globe once, seated right up in the upper gallery, waiting for a performance to start. It was dark, and looking up I could see the Tate Modern lit up in pink. I loved that moment – it was as though I was looking through a portal in time between the past and the future.

And that’s another reason London inspires me: it’s familiar and yet ever-changing.  Every time I look around, something new has been created.

I wrote a list of words on my way home, sitting on the train, words that captured the essence of the day, the sights I’d seen, the play I’d watched.  I have fuel for many a tale from that list.

So when you are running low on inspiration, visit your cities; they can fill you up again.

Happy writing,



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Some writers are very focussed.  I’ve read the interviews in magazines: they drop the kids at school, then go home/the office/wherever and write all day until they pick the kids up.  They don’t write at evenings or weekends because that’s not working time.

I, on the other hand, work at three in the morning, or over lunch, or on a Saturday night when I’m back from dinner/visiting a friend or when I haven’t bothered to go out because I need to get some work done.  Oh, I have my timesheet, of course – otherwise I’m pretty sure I’d still be on chapter one of the first book 😉

This works for me and whilst I’m sure my partner would like me to put the laptop down some evenings (as would the dog, who tries to shut it using his nose), it doesn’t really get in the way of doing anything else.  But now I am studying I thought it would be a good idea to look at the way I structure my time, and I found something interesting…

I am using my new course as an excuse to put off editing!

Over the last week, I’ve probably done less than five hours editing compared to around 15 hours of studying, and despite my general dislike for editing, even I can’t justify that…

I don’t need to spend so much on the course; I am doing extra reading and asking questions on forums and so on because it is all very interesting.

But I’ve signed up to courses through to the end of July at least, and I don’t want to still be doing this editing in the summer!

So I’ve decided that in order to get this editing done and dusted, I’ll start the day by editing the relevant month (the book is split into chapters by month; each month may have one or two chapters), and after that I can study.  That’ll break up the time and mean I give the editing the majority of time – I can’t stop until the month is finished.

That means I’ll be done by next Sunday ready to be all happy and self-congratulatory in the blog post!  If I miss my target for astrobiology-related reasons, please feel free to point and laugh.

In other news – thank you to Mandy Eve Barnett for nominating me for the Liebster award – I have nearly finished my award/nomination post so will get that out soon.  There is a backlog so it might be a long post!

Also – I recently heard in a radio interview that Hilary Mantel’s two Booker-prize winning novels are being turned into plays by the Royal Shakespeare Company.  I love this idea; it will be fascinating to see how the stories are re-imagined for the stage.  I wish more modern novels were adapted in this way.

And finally – despite dropping the editing ball this week, I did spend some time reworking the new sections I wrote in, and that at least is going reasonably well!

Onward and upward, as they say…

Happy writing,



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