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 the shortlist next time!