Limbo

First off- let me apologise for the longer than normal gap in blog entries, without the routine of the Royal Court keeping my writing progression regular, finding a time to sum up more disparate happenings is harder. Here I am though, ready to give you a decent update, so let’s go!

A few interesting things have happened writing wise since I last posted – obviously I’ve had a few more rejection letters, I sent off a pack of 15 submissions about May/June time last year, so this is the kind of time that most of the replies will happen. A couple of thanks but no thanks from competition submissions, pretty standard, but also a really lovely letter from Esther Richardson (previously from Theatre Writing Partnership where I did my first ever playwriting) who’s now at the Soho, accompanied by an extremely positive and useful readers report about Being Someone Else, which will be really helpful in draft 4 (it really is an epic of an idea, and is still searching for the right format, let alone anything else).

I’ve sent off a few more submissions over the past few days, a couple of ideas to the Red Ladder treatment development opportunity, two plays to an IdeasTap/Theatre503 initiative and obviously I’m waiting for feedback from the Royal Court.

I was also contacted (or re contacted-some emails junked somewhere I think) by Box of Tricks Theatre Company, who want to meet up with me and talk about my work- the pieces they have are positively ancient -Cloud and 2112, I’ve moved on a great deal from then, so hopefully that’s positive. I also have a new idea for a two hander, which it would be lovely to talk to them about. My meeting with them is at the Young Vic on Monday the 16th of Feb.

And there was also the Scary Little Girls Salon! Amongst London snow, via my first experience of the London bus network (a bendy bus too – the 73!), and despite the tfl website‘s crappy maps with no road names and big red dot that marks where you get off, but doesn’t actually provide you with a stop name – I made it just in time. Thanks to the bus driver who actually pulled over to help me work out where I was. So yes, the Bodrum Cafe was a really sweet venue, just the right size, an intimate audience, I don’t say that as a euphemism for ‘small’ it was a good size, but not too scary, and everyone was really supportive and open to new things. It was a really refreshingly different feel to the normal ‘death by networking’ that these things often tend towards. There were some lovely pieces; short stories, music, play extracts, a comedian, poems. The sections I chose for a reading were scenes 1 and 2, and scene 13 from Eismas. As a fresh first draft I really wanted to hear it, see how it felt in front of an audience, so I chose the opening, and then a more revelatory, emotional scene at the end of Act I. There were some really interesting reactions, particularly a couple of really quick reversals, a line that got a big laugh, followed by a very dark line which even got a little gasp! I love the idea of making an audience feel guilty for their reactions- it implicates them, and attaches them more to the story- makes it more relevant. I think that implication is key to effective political theatre … (though political theatre is a difficult thing to define itself, surely all theatre is political?). Anyway, despite that I had to dash off to get the train back Brum-ways, quite a few people came up to me to say it really intrigued them as I was leaving. Now I need to develop the piece to really work with that intrigue. Anyway, big thanks to Scary Little Girls for the opportunity, and my wonderful actors too, Dominic and Ona were played just right. There was a photographer at the event, so I shall see if I can get hold of a few shots.

I’ve also been reading about the women involved in the Easter Uprisings, a book by Margaret Ward, and one by Sinead McCoole. It was this commission which I contacted SLGP about originally. I was going to chat to Rebecca (the director of SLGP) about it on Sunday, but the event overran a little and I had to rush off to Euston. Really thrilling and heart-wrenching stuff. though, and some astounding characters too, think it would be a massive and fascinating undertaking.

My website is due for renovation soon – Lycos hosting has ceased business, so I’m in a right muddle trying to transfer my domain over to a new provider (Strato), who keep requesting the domain to no avail. I’ve phoned the 12p per minute Lycos help line many times over many days and it’s always just an engaged message so I’m a bit stuck. Eventually there will be some downtime (though not of the blog, obviously) and then I should be able to move everything to Strato. I may think about making the site a bit simpler. There’s too many links I think, too many buttons to all of the plays. I think I may collate into one page with links to download PDF extracts. I considered a ‘news’ section, do you think that would be a good thing to have? I mean the blog sort of suffices, a news section would just be a lot more succinct. I may also sort out Painting and Drawing to include some kind of commission info. so yes, a general shake up, the next time I have a couple of days. Should be fun!

Finally, I’m really enjoying the microblogging, it’s nice to just do on the go, and you honestly feel a part of something too – a feeling you don’t often get so much with other social networking options. @stephenfry is currently trapped in an elevator, and just tweeted a very sweet picture of him and all his fellow trap-ees, and @Dave_Gorman recently wondered out loud after some new vegetarian recipes, and got very many in reply! The tweets around Obama’s inauguration were fascinating, and the #Londonsnowfail hilarious. I definitely recommend it, you can follow my tweets via my facebook status, to the left of this blog, or via twitter itself, where I am @hannahnicklin.

Right, time to go methinks- at work tomorrow, a short week or so until we begin previews for Foursight‘s new touring production, needless to say – all a bit crazy! So think I will try and actually get my 8 hours tonight. I should have some pictures for you soon, hopefully some of the Salon, and also a scan of the painting I’ve done for my dad’s birthday, which you can have a look at after it’s handed over!

Oh and the blog title ‘limbo’ is just a reference to that ongoing state of almost breaking through which I’m living in at the moment, not complaining, just part of trying to make a living in the arts. Onwards! (Hopefully).

Thanks for reading, if you have any good ideas for website renovation, let me know.

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