Friday, 25 October 2013

November's going to be busy

I think I may have to sleep through most of December. I'll need to after the November that looks likely...

Firstly and most excitingly, I have another play on. It's a 10-minute cheerful short called "Lost Things" and it's part of Play Pieces Shorts festival of new writing. It's the last show of the evening on the first of the two days (14 - 15 Nov) and the organiser was kind enough to say she scheduled it there to send the audience off happy at the end of the evening. And yes, it is a optimistic play with no murderers or anything horror within. Rather unusual - though I do enjoy writing a bit of comedy. With the help of some brilliant Inverness College drama students we've cast the roles this week, and rehearsals start next week. I'm directing, which I'm looking forward to, and it's going to be performed in a large open plan vintage shop in Inverness - The Village. It sounds like it's going to be a really interesting couple of evenings with a varied bill.

And as if that wasn't enough to keep me busy, I'm also going to do NaNoWriMo again - writing 50K words of a novel in the 30 days of November. That's just under 2000 words per day. I managed last year with a week off to have eye surgery, so I hope it'll be achievable again this year. I have a basic plan: I'm going for a claustrophobic horror, with an unsettling feel. Back to horror, yeah! I have a support group this year: several of the Eden Court Novel Writing group are also NaNo-ing, and it'll be good to have the company for write-ins and some gentle nagging about word count.

And work is going to be getting manic as data pours in from all 6 countries for me to analyse, and I am of course popping down to London for a bit. I may have to start drinking this coffee thing that people rave about...

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Scottish theatre: B-Roads

At the weekend I went to Inverness' once-a-month Play Pieces lunchtime theatre to see a play called "B-Roads" by Morna Young and David Rankine. Now, my opinion of the previous plays I've seen in this series has varied hugely – some have been distinctly dull – but I'd met Morna on the Scottish Book Trust's brilliant Playwriting Lab in Glasgow last month and she seemed to be a pretty impressive and creative person, so I was hoping for good things. And that's what we got. B-Roads is a psychological drama set in the aftermath of a car crash, following the relationship between the couple involved. It captured that feeling I love – and have tried to invoke in several of my own published stories (Dr Henderson's Thursday is a good example) – an unsettling, 'something’s not right, but I don’t know quite what' mood. You watch, form guesses, suspicions, which then seem more or less likely as the play progresses. And then at the end, all becomes clear. Love it. It's exactly the sort of thing I enjoy both writing and watching. And Morna and David, who also acted the piece, did it very well. Good use is made of the set, which gradually changes throughout. I really don't want to say much more about the play and inadvertently give anything away, but it is funny, intriguing, sad and horrifying from moment to moment. Powerful stuff.

Play Pieces is a one-time, catch it or it’s gone affair, but the play is on again in Lossiemouth on the 10th and 11th of October, and is well worth a look if you know where Lossiemouth is. In fact, if you don't, I'd recommend you look it up or borrow a satnav. Go see it! And you never know: my fingers are crossed that it gets a wider tour. I would go and see it again, because it's one of those plays that I've been looking back on and thinking about and seeing more in each scene in retrospect than I appreciated at the time. And I don't say that about many plays.