Santi & Naz

Santi and Naz have been sahelis (best friends) from birth. It is 1947 and India is on the brink of Partition. Families are being torn apart, social unrest and violence are spreading, but the girls are more interested in playing marbles, competing to see who can make the best rope swing, and spying on Rahul at the local nimbu stall. When Naz is betrothed to Nadeem, a tailor in Rawalpindi, circumstances threaten to separate the girls forever; will it be sanctuary or saheli? How far will they go to avoid the inevitable?

The piece is experiment in collaborative creation
Santi & Naz premiered (work-in-progress sharing) at
Derby Theatre’s In Good Company Scratch That Itch, June 2017 and then
Scratch at the Jack at Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

 

Development of the piece continues.

 

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Days 6, 7 & 8

So, er yeah. The regular updates fell by the way side, didn’t they?

That said, I have been keeping up the reading and watching of plays. In one week I read five plays and watched two. I experienced a whole range of emotions and saw how some theatre can be so simple and at other times it can be so very complicated.

Day 6: Before I’d even got to work I read The Vertical Hour by David Hare.

img_20170206_112027_185What struck me most about this was that essentially it was a play about a couple. About a man’s relationship with his father, about a woman’s desire to reconnect with her true passion. Yet at the same time it was about the Iraq war, politics and the role the West played in the Middle East. There were some insightful speeches about modern politics and humans’ apathy to the plight of others in situations of conflict.

We don’t spend that much time with these characters but instantly we understand them, and it all becomes clear why they are absolutely not suited to each other.

I thought it was a masterclass in brevity and character. A play can be about many things, as long as your characters are watchable. I was definitely inspired.

Day 7: Purple by John Fosse.

This was assigned to the Tamasha writers as something to read before our next session. We will then have a task to complete. I’ll confess, I’m not sure I liked it. I struggled with it and getting a sense of what was going on. That said, I was impressed with how much you can say with very little actual language, or punctuation, in fact.

Day 8: Dear Home Office

Much like Brainstorm this show reminded me of the power of young people just being themselves. It also tied in nicely with my verbatim project Home is Where… At a time where I’m considering new and exciting projects for the Space youth theatre and having just launched Sharing Stories, it’s important to me to see how simple storytelling can be elevated to make something theatrically engaging.

I’m posting this on Monday, which is day 13 and the plays that I’ve read but don’t have time to write about are:

Girls, Blue Heart, The Convert, Death and the Ploughman and Mincemeat. Today we started a week of R&D of my play Coconut at Diorama Arts Centre, so to be fair, it’s unlikely these updates will actually come. You’ll just have to take my word that there is some serious theatrical learning going on over here.

Day 5

My towel is in the ring. I fling it in, admit defeat and breathe a sigh of relief. If I’m honest I didn’t want to do this, the sense of dread as the first prompt landed in my inbox said it all. But I’d already paid by then, and well, I like to think of as non-quitter. I am sticking to some sort of ritual though. February is a good month for rituals, it’s my Birthday month and with birthdays come the inevitable doom and gloom. In order to combat that I like to throw myself into something….

Anyway, tonight instead of writing a murder mystery, I read Brainstorm. I was inspired by how simple and honest storytelling wins every time. Kids talking about parents and their brains in terms of science and personal anecdotes makes for a very readable (and I imagine watchable) half an hour. As someone who works with young people, sometimes we try and overcomplicate things, but really all we need to do is capture their raw talent.

I’d definitely recommend it.

dsc_2123

 

Day 3

Write a play without a plot 

What is plot? What is story? How on earth does one write something with no plot? I doled out advice on the Facebook page, but I then ignored it all.

What I’ve submitted is inspired by the climactic moment that I envision for my new play. As it appears here, is plotless, but it’s allowed me to get a sense of the two characters and their power dynamic. So that’s helpful.

Bootcamp

Day 2

Let’s look at myths and folklore today. Try to pick a random culture, find an interesting character in their mythology or an awesome folklore story and write about that.

Perfect timing. I’ve been pitched a summer school idea for the youth group at the Space. (I feel like I should have mentioned I work at the Space…Does it matter?)

Anyway, a musician recently approached us wanting to work with our youth group. His idea? A Hopi creation myth, fitting perfectly with the brief for today. So I took the wikipedia entry he sent me and wrote a short play for our youth group. It’s written for their voices and I’m actually quite proud of it.

Spiderwoman

Day 1

Here we are. Day 1 of #28playslater

I’m in such a more different place in my writing than I was last year. My play Coconut is in the R&D stages, I’m part of the Tamasha Playwrights 2016/2017 and basically understand playwriting in a way I never did before.

I’ll confess, I almost sacked off this process before even starting last night as I’m working on 3 projects and the thought of writing more on top of that exhausted me. I considered doing a reading challenge, where I read a play every day instead. I feel like that’s what’s really important right now. I need to be reading more plays, seeing more plays to understand more about ambitious stagecraft. Maybe I’ll do that next month…

Anyway, my point is, to make this challenge more relevant, I decided to play with the kind of plays I’ll write. SO day 1 is an audio play. We did a workshop on it as part of Tamasha and I’m really intrigued by what you can achieve with sound.

Let’s write a play about “19/28″ –  Read 19:28

Why I March…

Today I am with the women’s march in London.  Here is why I am choosing to participate, choosing to march, choosing to stand in solidarity.

I believe, above ALL else that we should be kind, that there is always someone else worse off and that we should do whatever we can to help them; whatever that looks like. If we choose to only look after ourselves we fail our own humanity.

Firstly I stand with ALL women of the USA whose civil liberties stand to be taken away under the Trump administration. I march for their right to control their own bodies, to choose to take birth control, to do go out dressed as they like and not be blamed for the actions of men when they are verbally or physically abused.

Secondly, I stand with the people of colour, immigrants, LGBTQ all over the world. I march for their right to exist without fear of prejudice or violence. I hear them when they say they are scared for their rights and scared for their lives. If you say you’re scared, I hear you; I do not say your fears are unjustified.

Lastly I march because if I do nothing, I am no better than those who are changing the rules to suit themselves. I march because to me it feels right, because I believe in #HopeNotHate and that #LoveTrumpsHate. I encourage you to join me.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

seamless pattern with a large group of well- dresses ladies

 

Coconut at Script Accelerator

After a month of R&D at Park Theatre, as part of Script Accelerator the Coconut team are headed to New Diorama to continue exploration of the text and character journeys.

Here is some feedback from the 2 performances of a 20 minute extract of work-in-progress:

“The writer really has potential and I like her organic political wit and natural comedy….The script has a good premise, I think it really needs to look at the structure of how to tell that story. And maybe go for the comedy and ridiculousness a bit more.” 

“This is great – funny, characters you want to spend time with, moving towards a troubling end”

More feedback to come!

Rumi : Sukh Kaur Ojla
Simon: Karl Sedgwick