Words on the page, words on stage

Time is moving so quickly. It’s crazy. In April it was like wading through soup but now the days are just galloping by. I’m trying to do some writing in the daytime as well as for this evening blog but it’s so easy to distract myself. I’m making progress but I am learning that the only way to do it properly is to have a dedicated space where I go and treat writing like a job – and currently there isn’t room in my flat for an office so my bed is the only option.

I could probably blog while taking off in a rocket because the habit is so ingrained, but despite my little screenplay blog a few days ago when the car got broken into I’m finding it very slow going working out who says what and when they say it in a script for stage. It’s a different discipline, all this writing from inside the practical constraints of a play. Multiple voices but not as many as I need. A new set of limitations. Trying not to ask for the impossible whilst asking for what would be fun. Trying not to just sound expositiony or empty or trite or explainy. This is going to take some serious selfshaking.

Playwrights, I take my hat off to you. I’ll try not to mangle your words next time I’m acting them out. Prose has always fallen out of my head in some form of vague order. Verse assembles itself effectively but I’m too shy to share it most of the time. Dialogue tumbles disordered into my iPad where I’m constantly reassembling and doubting it.

As an actor I’ve sworn too many times at scripts where writers make me speak their needs or perform their transparent fantasies. I’ve grumbled as I’ve had to learn huge tracts of exposition that could be reduced to a gesture and word, or when I’ve had to walk into a room, speak my needs, and then change the subject to the next needed conversation with “but anyway”. “Hi Bella. I’m here to get the gun so I can go out hunting for pheasants. But anyway, have you heard back from the police about your lost puppy?” You’d be amazed how often it gets sent out to the actors like that. (Example made up for illustrative purposes).

Now I’m finding out how easy it is to fall into those lazy playwriting traps myself. I’ve had to go with the overused adage : “Don’t get it right, get it written.” I’m gonna get it written and then rewrite most of it while swearing at myself for being a clumsy fool the first time round. There’s the beginning of something I think I’ll enjoy. But time’s a ticking. I should have had a first draft by Monday. I’m way behind schedule. And I’m filming tomorrow. Still, I’ll get something out there I reckon. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from doing this daily blog it’s to just put it out there. If you build it…

The office

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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