The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd …

Chatting to another blogger the other day, I mentioned a one-act play what I wrote – blame Ernie Wise for the bad grammar! – and my fellow cybernaut replied that he’d like to read it. Aren’t people kind?

So … two years ago I entered Beyond The Gilded Cage for a playwriting competition. It didn’t win – OK, it never even made the shortlist! – but it does have the minor distinction of being the first play I ever finished. Starting a dialogue comes easily enough when the discordant soundtrack to your childhood is constant parental bickering – all the books tell you that drama needs conflict, so it’s Ta to Ma and Pa for plenty of that! – but fictional endings come harder when disagreements in real life are never really settled.

Anyway, that’s my excuse.

Deadlines help, of course, they always did. One long boring car journey us kids decided to start writing down everything my parents said, so we sat on the back seat scribbling like crazy while they came up with pure comedy gold – things like, “You’re far too close to that cyclist!” … “What cyclist?”  We ended up with pages of this stuff, driven on by the delicious prospect of reading it aloud to everybody when we got to our grandparents’ house. A performance deadline, no less, and we brought the house down!

If my mother and father had ever seen eye to eye, perhaps I wouldn’t still be scribbling crazy dialogues I can’t seem to finish. There’s certainly something of my parents in Sarah and Patrick, the central couple in my play, but whether I manage to bring them together convincingly at the end is anybody’s guess. Ah well, all the books on playwriting tell me that farce is close to tragedy …

If you can spare a little time to read Beyond The Gilded Cage, please click on beyond2 and a Word document should load up (in Protected View) after a few moments. I would be very interested in any feedback, favourable and otherwise – if I can improve it, or improve on it, I might make a shortlist in the future!

 

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Image: St Stephen’s CE Primary School

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16 thoughts on “The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd …

    1. Thanks ever so much for reading it, Curt, really appreciate your comments! ‘Truly weird’ I like, as I tried to pack in as much madness as I could while keeping the story going …

          1. I’m sure the use of the verb ‘wander’ in our respective blog titles is significant, Curt … nothing worse than sticking to the straight and narrow!

  1. I have no idea how to translate dialogue to an actual play in my head, but I like the poetic asides, and it would be great if they sang them I think. People so often talk and don’t listen, and you capture that. (K)

    1. Talking across one another is something I really remember adults doing when I was young, making it easier to ignore them! They seemed to cancel one another out, somehow. I tried to include a carnival element, so singing would work … thanks for responding!

  2. I, too, enjoyed your play. It has several intertwined themes (ecology, racism, greed, sanity …). Afterwards I was left wondering if there was a single central message or whether you were deliberately exploring a range of ideas. I assume it hasn’t been performed but I, for one, would go and see it if it comes to a stage near me.

    1. Glad you liked it, thanks so much for taking the time to read it! As you rightly say, it has a scattergun approach to many targets – I threw everything in and hoped the crazy farce of the plot would let me get away with it. Joe Orton was a big influence – I admire his freewheeling satire. No, never performed – anyone’s welcome to try for free, as long as I get a ticket to go and see it! And if they ever do, you can be sure I’ll be posting about it on here …

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