It’s been a while since I posted any theatre chat, so to hell with recent tradition and let’s go oldschool.
For the newbies, I’m a theatre-maker from Scotland, my trade being in performance and writing for the stage. After my masters, several things went wrong, and I’ve spent the last two years putting all the bits of myself and my craft back together again. One of the ways I’ve been doing this is through the Traverse Young Writers programme – sure, I already have a masters in it, but like I said, things went wrong. I needed the help.
Last night was our script workshop with actors and a director, officially marking my final session with this programme (with an unofficial chat coming next week) as, alas, I am now too old to return. The most noticeable theme of the night was just how different each of our voices were, and the fact that were no duds. Even on topics that I might not be interested in, every concept had a real purpose behind it.
I couldn’t really call it bittersweet because I was running on four hours sleep and was lucky to have even made it down the stairs without face-planting the floor (morning air travel, the best/worst kind of travel). It took considerable effort to stay focussed long enough to provide coherent answers to everyone’s questions, and not instead do what I had done a fortnight prior and absolutely butcher my idea’s explanation – I’m not saying my story is the shit, but it’s definitely not as shit as I made it seem.
On our way out, one of the actors overheard me mention about a reading I’d had in that same space – he’d been performing in my coursemate’s piece that same night – and after working through bits of memories lurking in his mind, he delivered his realisation much like a murder detective in a whodunnit and said “That was you!” To say I was flattered was an understatement. Apart from the fact he’s an actor I admire and love watching perform, the reading was over two and a half years ago – remembering it in the first place was flattery enough.
So we’re heading up the stairs, chatting away about that night, my piece, my coursemate’s piece, and lots of encouragement to keep on writing. I talk about the fact that if it wasn’t for doing Young Writers, I’d be in much worse condition, and how things went badly after the masters but what can you do.
And that’s when he said “hey life’s a marathon not a sprint, take your time, don’t rush it, y’know?“
The next six months are going to be interesting: performance and written projects are looming, two personal interests to set up and organise are in the works and, as of today, it’s eighteen days until we are handed the keys to a cottage that’s even harder to find than this one. Sometimes, taking your time means every opportunity comes at once. You just have to be ready to navigate it.