29 Plays Later

I signed up for #29playslater a challenge set by the Space.
I’ll be publishing the plays I write here. Feel free to tweet me your responses @g_ting

Day 29:Make this play about all things clothes.
Final play. I would have like to go out with a bang, but…

Day 28: Pick any of the previous 27 challenges we’ve done and write a NEW play following that brief.
At this stage there is nothing useful left in my brain. I combined the following challenges:
1. Write a bad play (cop-out)
2. Write a play set on a plane
3. Write a play inspired by something in the news
28.Let’s Get Ready to Rumble

Day 27: Finish something you started.
I worked on a piece called Betty that I wrote in New York. It’s been performed and received good feedback from Old Red Lion Theatre a few years ago. But it was out of date. This month marks the 10h anniversary of Betty Friedan‘s death, so it felt right to pick it back up again. I’m not going to be publishing it, because I’d like to do something with it. So you’ll just have to wait and see what happens…

Day 26: Pick a theme! Any theme! But make it an abstract theme.
I picked Justice, inspired by this article. I want to write more on this idea. I’d like to look at all different forms “justice” from around the world. Tomorrow’s prompt has already been released as finishing something you started, so maybe I’ll do more work on it tomorrow…
26.Part Two

Day 25: Choose your favourite play that you’ve written during this month, and write it again from memory.
Yeah, that wasn’t happening. Mainly because everything I have done this month has been under a haze of stress. I can’t remember what I ate yesterday, let alone a whole play!
As I’ve been thinking about my writing recently, I reread some stuff I had sitting in a folder. Most of it was awful, including the one-act I wrote for my degree. I then found the six lines of dialogue I wrote as a submission for The Pensive Federation. I’d been back in London for a year and was still missing New York. I had no theatre network and wasn’t writing plays. I applied for the Significant Other Festival and got in. It was my first “London break” (look at me now!) These six lines of dialogue were also my first gender neutral/fluid writing. It seemed the best piece to try and recall as I had only just read it the other day…
25.Meatball Sub

Day 24: Memories
I can not confirm, nor deny the extent of the truthfulness of this play. It was sparked by a memory, but then it went somewhere else.
24.Once Upon A Time in Amsterdam

Day 23: Write a play in a different language.
Yeah! Got to put my ‘A’ Level French and Spanish to use(!)
23.United Nations

Day 22: First lines. My tribute to Harper Lee.
I was one of those children that was always reading. My mum banned books at the dinner table. I’d read the entire kids section at my local library by the time I was 11. To Kill a Mockingbird was so simple, yet so inspiring. As a child it taught me about right and wrong, and where those lines are blurred. As an adult it taught me that you can write about anything, as long as you have passion for your story and your characters, and of course language.
(I also managed to sneak a couple of quotes in there from Haroun and the Sea of Stories. If you haven’t read it and consider yourself a storyteller, you’re missing out. It’s just beautiful.)

Day 21: Revolutionary Art.
21.Mona Lisa

Day 20: The Space is in it’s 20th year as a venue. Write a play with 20 characters in it (one of whom must be called Robert or Roberta). Set it in space or in an empty space or in the Space. Make it about approaching a big milestone.  
I am SO off brief, but once I got started, I really enjoyed writing this. I’m still trying to get my head around whether I’m actually writing plays, or scenes or sketches. But I’m writing, and that’s what counts.
20.Now Hiring

Day 19: So pick a topic you know nothing about – then write about it!
I’ve been quite self-deprecating about a couple of the plays up to this point. But this, this really is terrible. And because I can’t not research, I read this.

Day 18: Titles. You can take it one of two ways – either start with a title, and surprise yourself by the content, or write the play, and give it a thought-provoking title, that perhaps changes it’s meaning. I did neither!
18.Posh Pete’s Pear Pie

Day 17: Write a play that is shorter than a millisecond or longer than a millennia.
I was sort of sneaky about this one. I’m finding that the problem I had at the beginning of this challenge was not being able to translate the prompt into something that resonated with me. I think I’m getting the hang of it…However I’ll let you guys be the judge of that.
17.The Experiment

Day 16: A link to a musician playing a piece of music
I completely ignored it. Something my husband said sparked an idea, so I just went with it. The piece may or may not be the same couple from the first play!
16.First Dance

Day 15: Write about your idol
My idol is Salman Rushdie. I once tweeted him about the film adaptation of Midnight’s Children and he responded with a tweet that told me not to worry about it. That I should treat the film as more of a cousin to the book. However, this isn’t what I wrote about. Surprisingly I wrote about something that was completely detached from me. This play got me thinking about “what constitutes a play”. It’s got to have a beginning, middle and end, and I’m wondering if some of the little ones I’ve written do. OOPS.
15.But That’s What You Said

Day 14: Follow rules: 

1. There are six named characters in the play, but only four of them appear

2. One of the characters begins every sentence with the letter B (every sentence, not every line), another starts every other sentence with Y.

3. You may use between 5-9 pauses in the play, but at least two of them need to be in the middle of a speech

4. One of the characters is over 70

5. Every line of dialogue must have one of the following: either 6 words, 13 words, 19 words, 27 words, 54 words or 113 words (you can punctuate as you see fit)

6. The play will contain four scenes/acts 

7. One of the scenes will be without words, but all the characters are present on stage, and the action should last a minimum of 5 minutes.

8. The other three scenes have a minimum of 15 lines of dialogue, and each must contain one silent action

9. Two of the characters fall in love during the play, and two fall out (can be the same two, if you like)
10. Wine will be drunk, wine will be spilled, wine will be thrown

I managed to follow all the rules except #5. Counting every word of the play was far too time-consuming. I managed to work in a story I’ve had in my head for years now.  So, where were you when Michael Jackson died?
14.Where were you when?

Day 13: “You know how we’re always told to write something we want to see. Well, how about we write something we don’t want to see?”

I struggled to think of ideas, so put the question out to friends on Facebook. What do you not want to see on stage, what are you bored of, annoyed by? The lovely Maddie of The Thelmas said, “Another play where a poor, uneducated “deprived” young person gets fucked over/raped/arrested/imprisoned/exploited” I went with it, creating yet another character from an estate in Peckham who gets involved in a gang and drugs and ends up in a situation where they’re the bad guy. We need more positive role models in film and theatre. Asian women are more than characters looking for a husband, asian men are not just terrorists. Black men aren’t consigned to always end up in prison. Let’s get out of this mindset that urban and gritty is the reality for EVERYONE. And even if it is, let’s write characters that challenge the status quo…

13.Curly the Caterpillar

Day 12: Write a play set on a plane, but then take it somewhere else.
Inspired by this article

Day 11: Write gender-netural, or gender-opposite or whatever…Write about sexuality and gender.
I quite often write gender neutral. In fact the play I wrote in response to prompt 1 was gender neutral. Characters were simply 1 and 2. I find that often, in relationships we behave just as you would expect and at other times, we’re just not traditional. Gender impacts the way you react to things, but sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s just fun to mix things around. I wouldn’t say this piece was particularly fun. I saw a really moving piece of theatre tonight and was trying to recreate this feeling of longing…not sure if it translated well.
11.Under the Knife

Day 10: Find an expresion, an idiom, a cliche, etc…and use it as a literal impetus for the play.
This really is not very good. I’m happy to admit that. I just didn’t have the brain energy to think of anything too complex.
10.Blessing in Disguise

Day 9: Find something in the news that’s upsetting you and respond to it

This is the news story I picked
9.Homeward Bound

Day 8: First line: “Let go of Charlie! The truth is, I’ve despised you since I discovered the truth about you, Frank and the margarine!”
8.Charlie Boy

Day 7: Emojis
This was really difficult after writing my enormous musical. I felt drained and like I couldn’t formulate anything that was remotely creative, but I got there in the end.
7.One in Four

Day 6: Musicals
I thought about this long and hard. Musicals are weird for me. I love singing, and essentially I do like musicals, but I enjoy saying I don’t. I also like Taylor Swift. As a 32 year old, I shouldn’t admit it, but her music makes me happy. And quite often her songs tell a story. As do Bollywood songs. Ah, Bollywood, the original musical.
Basically here’s my musical- featuring the music of Taylor Swift and well know Bollywood film music. Enjoy. I certainly enjoyed writing it. In fact, once I’ve finished this challenge and finished my full-length, I’m coming back to this and I’m going to get it produced. Mark my words. (As long as T-Swift says yes to me using her music!)
6.You Belong With Me

Day 5: Write a crap play
I tried to be clever and thought about what makes a bad play… That got me thinking about the Bechdel Test and how few plays and films pass it. I wrote a play that deliberately fails it, well tried to anyway. I present you:
5.Boys who Like Girls, who Like Boys
And as the prompt asked for crap plays, I sent in photos of the play written in my notebook. And because I hate losing, I also sent in a typed version…

Day 4: Maths
This is ridiculous. Honestly I think I’ve got too hung up on the prompt, so I’m getting sucked into surreal. The idea is to translate the prompt into something that is relevant to me as a writer. And I write about humans and relationships. I need to get back to that.
4.It’s All Greek To Me

Day 3: Monologue inspired by an actor
This piece actually fits well into Coconut, the full-length play that I’m working on, so consider it a preview.
3.Just Because

Day 2: Take the funniest thing you’ve ever seen/heard/read and turn it into a tragedy. I’m not that impressed with it, but the idea haunted me all night and all day, so I figured it was easier to just get it down and possibly work on it later.

Day 1: String
1.Science and God