Ah, so, here I am. Redrafting my play. Only I’m not, of course. I’m burning CDs, I’m listening to CDs, I’m surfing the net, I’ve even put in a load of washing and I’m contemplating pushing the hoover around a bit. And I’m writing this. Such is the art of the redraft. Have had very little time to think of the play, really. My daytime job and travelling gobble up huge chunks of the day and a bit of the night.
So, Trolleys. Where do I start? Have decided not to ‘expand the metaphor’ and will, instead, be adding a bit more meat to the bone. In the critique it was suggested that we don’t know who is telling the story, where they are telling it from and why they are telling it. The old who, where, why of theatreland. Here’s me, a man influenced more by Spike Milligan than any playwright that ever existed, pondering on if we ever knew who, where or why the Goons bothered. Was it Bluebottle, Eccles or Neddie? It was neither, was it, because the perspective forever revolved. You know, the way it often does when you write a story that involves more than one person. And, unless you live in a one-dimensional universe, life, to paraphrase that font of all wisdom that is Avril Lavigne, is like that. I have Gage, a supermarket manager, Marco, a pimp, Gale, a prostitute, and a trolley attendant to pick from. Think we can rule out the last one. Maybe there will be an all-seeing eye… Anyway, the story belongs to Gage. And his it will be. Nick suggests putting him in jeopardy, which I sort of hinted at in the first draft but it got lost in the gush of daftness. Gage is, like a lot of men in authority, a raging sexist who can’t relate to women. And he will have got himself in serious bother with a woman at the play’s start and this will drive the plot. Nick adds that he is unsure about the objectification of women in the first draft. To which I would retort, it is the artists job to shock, and real art is shocking. It is not the male writers job to write from a woman’s perspective (you can do, of course, but you’re still a man). Yes, there is some nasty treatment of women. But that is how many men treat women. If a mostly daft play packed with nonsense and cartoon moments also makes a pertinent point about behaviour that has been stealthly accepted in ‘society’ (I hate that word) – because if you saw what Marco does to Gale in a street in the real world – the one I live in – you wouldn’t intervene, you would just walk on with your head down – then that’s a job well done methinks. That real threat (albeit on stage) that everything is about to tip over the edge, that the conventions of social behaviour are highly fragile, is vital to what I do. I want people to think, oh, this is weird, and then feel very, very uncomfortable (yeah, yeah, yeah, Brecht bla bla bla) and unsure that their reaction is, in itself, appropriate behaviour. Anyway, must get on!
Have heard many tales about waste products falling from aeroplanes. I feel that we have experienced a ‘near miss’ in this department. A huge chunk of ice dropped in front of the car this morning. It came out of the sky without warning. Cripes.