Today my new friend wrote a play. It’s the first time I’ve dramaturged for someone in this programme and it did make me anxious. They’re writing a play. They’ve made up the character. They have certain strictures they have to observe and I have to help them. It was flowing beautifully in the morning, but then suddenly in the afternoon session things petered out because we moved from outside to inside and we were being LISTENED TO. Also I hadn’t taken into account that my young writer is part of a peer group and might have had her ideas negated by the louder and more confident members of her group in the lunch break. She suddenly after lunch didn’t feel like she wanted to say anything, partly because probably somebody tried to dictate her character, partly because of busy busy in the room we were in.
She’s tired from time to time my new friend, but at the hardest point of the writing we had someone busying themselves in the background. Just as we were about to try to say the important things we were unlucky as there was buzzing around and it really did feel like she was listening even if she wasn’t. She wouldn’t take the hints I dropped which proves she actually probably wasn’t listening it just felt that way for us. “It’s hard to concentrate when there are people bustling around and listening like this, isn’t it?” I said to the playwright. That’s about as close as nice me will I’ll ever get to saying “Go away! I’ve got this.” So… the final third of the script was solved with the stage direction “They fight”.
I feel that my young adult has written a delightful piece. It might have been different if we had not chosen a busy place to write the second part. I’m glad the first half was fecund. My desire for the scene isn’t her desire, and I’m trying to scribe for her not me. That’s important.
Everything comes from the best possible intentions with this lot. We are all volunteers. It’s tonic to be part of it. I have to check my privilege and my luck at every stage. Glorious people. Glorious work. It’s my first dramaturging, so yeah, of course I’m anxious that I get the best out of my writer.
My writer was so bold 1 on 1. I hope I’ve done well by her. I hope she feels her voice is heard. In the end, that’s all that matters.
My dear friend from Guildhall met up with me in Belsize Park after work. Her mum still lives on Crowndale Road. She grew up in Somerstown and would have definitely been part of the programme had it existed back then. As we left the pub, two young men stopped her. “Are you Miss 0? We all loved you in Dubai!” She’s been international for years, teaching. She’s just come home. I don’t think that happens every night, so I was glad to hear it from them on her behalf, and to hear how well they’re doing and how much they respect her, my old mate… My old drama school partner, Single mum at 16, training as an actress miss thirties, from hardship, alleviating hardship, full of life.
I’m not being paid for this mentoring. I’m doing it because I know how incredible these young adults are. I’m happy to be a tiny tiny part of their journey. My friend from Somerstown found drama. It has changed her life and – by the feel of it she has gone on to change that of many many people.