Hurrah for a less didactic blog post!
Yup, this is a (shock-horror) creative update.
It seems like while since I’ve spoken about my creative writing, and this is mainly because I’ve been working on one particular thing, and wasn’t certain I had the go-ahead to talk about it. But I definitely have that now, so here goes.
I handed in the first draft for my first ever proper commission this Monday. It’s going to be part of a showcase of new writing, of 4-6, 15 minute newly commissioned pieces called Word:Play, and produced by the excellent (well yes I would say that, but I genuinely do think they are excellent) Box of Tricks Theatre Company. The pieces are all written in response to a single word, and the word for this Word:Play is obsession.
Here’s what I’ve been writing:
Awake is a monologue for two voices- the play happens somewhere between real and not, focussing on the relationship between avatar and identity. J0n thinks he is real, but he is Flo’s avatar. Flo has been playing an MMORPG until passing out from dehydration. She awakes, and meets J0n, finding herself in what appears to be a kind of digital limbo. The meeting is initially an affable (if confused) one, but as it emerges that only one of them can leave the space it becomes a fight for survival. Flo is dying, and to survive, J0n has to convince her life is worth living.
There have been several deaths and child-neglect cases related to MMORGS over the past 3 or 4 years. This short piece explores the identity politics, obsessive personalities, perfectionism, and the revisionism/escapism involved in the hardcore gaming community. It asks why people want so much to disappear from ‘our’ world, questioning how much we invest in our online/virtual presences, and how real our online personas are. The place in which the two characters are trapped could be some kind of digital limbo, but it could also be Florence’s mind. In this space J0n is realer than he has ever been, and Florence is dying. It becomes clear that Florence has a choice to make – between her obsession, and her life. What does she really have to go back to?
The first draft went… well it went the way of most first drafts do for me, it felt like my brain was bleeding. But I got it done, and in time. There’s a lot to work on – in character, and my ideas about the universe of the play etc. But the first step is there, and (considering how time is flying at the moment) it won’t be long until I have my first fully kitted out production (this Winter, probably in the new year, in London).
In other writing news Scary Little Girls Productions have offered me full a weekend in November to workshop Eismas (PDF), the first draft of which they seem really interested in, possibly for presentation in London just before or after Christmas. This is bloody excellent news, as I really do need a proper actor/director reading of that piece to love and hate it enough again to redraft. Plus to get it in front of an audience, to get them asking questions and poking holes would be very useful. Spec-fic theatre is still quite a rare thing, so in a lot of ways I’m writing into the unknown – I seriously appreciate feedback and debate about my writing, for me, theatre should be a testing ground as much as it should present polished ideas. So yes, here’s to general excitement.
I’m not kidding, do it.