Tonight’s the Night: ‘King’

About a month ago, I created a short called ‘King’:

Now in his thirties, Man conjures up three younger versions of himself – Mini, Midi and Maxi – to explore the worst decision he ever made.

For the next three nights, Girls Like That will be performed at the Traverse Theatre in collaboration with the Lyceum Youth Theatre company, with readings of new work written by past and present Traverse Young Writers performed alongside the main event. The piece itself will be performed by an all teenage female cast, while the readings were created for and will be performed by an all teenage male cast.

As well as another writer, Clare Daly and her piece ‘Disappointments’, I help kick off the three nights with my piece, ‘King’, in about three hours time!

The basis for ‘King’ began as a true story about a friend of mine and a very tumultuous period of time in his life i.e. his teens. With his permission, I used the backbone of this hellish episode, honed in on one particular aspect of it, and essentially fictionalised it as far away from his own reality as I possibly could. The aspect in question? Mental health.

While the conversation around mental health and well-being has greatly improved, there is still a long way to go to stop children carrying trauma with them into adulthood. The sooner it is dealt with, the brighter their future. My piece, however, is about what happens when you don’t and, worst of all, keep quiet about it. When you blame yourself for your actions, and not of those who should have known better. When those who should have known better didn’t, and placed that blame at your feet.

Mental health has vastly improved, even within the last decade. More and more, we are getting to a point where elements of our identity being different to the ‘norm’ is moving out of living memory, almost like dial-up internet and flip-phones. And that is a good thing. But the same immediacy cannot always have the same impact for those who didn’t have that childhood, or that level of access to help. All this progress benefits us all, but even someone in their mid-twenties (my age) is still just outside that change in the tide – is it any wonder, then, that there are people late in life coming to terms with things they have suppressed for fifty or eighty years?

Obviously the above is a very simplistic view on an incredibly complex issue, but I hope that gives a quick insight into where this piece came from. I’m very excited for tonight, and what the casts have in store for us. Break a leg!

Having never done so, I think this year I’m going to start posting the why behind any of the work that I do, a) because I want to be, but b) because I think it may massively help my process. I’ll update this with a little more substance after the show – typed this up with no edit!

Testing 1 2 3

Thanks to the last month or so, I haven’t had the chance to properly check in, so here we go.

Somewhere in between working a festival and hacking the life out of the garden (although I might argue hacking life back in), the festival ended, a skin treatment plan (finally) began, and I had my second ever stage reading. So, y’know, busy.

Laidig's Broadway - TestingThe Science festival went ridiculously well. Spread over five venues, the general consensus was that if you were a bookable workshop, you were going to be swamped, regardless of the time of day. It was also Easter. National visitors, international, our station grew busier and busier as the festival went on, and there were times when you couldn’t help but wonder why the week after Easter was busier than before and during. Answer: I have none. Eight hours of small children, lego, and being on your feet the entire time, the biggest thing I learnt? Footwear. I have never felt more love for my dance trainers of old. And I occasionally got to practice going en pointe. Simple things in life. Continue reading

Summer To-Do List: Red Pen Strikes Back

Gallery

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Series. What’s on your list? Draft one ends, and the second begins. But after the workshop on Saturday past, I noticed something among my script, scribbling grey all over my words. The scribbles were no longer red, the colour of … Continue reading

[Fringe] ‘Spoiling’ & ‘Lippy’

Spoiling

“We are not independent. We are indentured.”

2014 Spoiling, Traverse Theatre, edfringe

Post-independence referendum. It has been won, and a keynote speech by the Scotland’s Foreign Minister, along with other Westminster politicians, is due to be made. But what on earth will either side say?

Spoiling was a quick 50 minute taster, witty and to the point, set in the office of Foreign Minister, Fiona. She is a character politicians dream to be, reminiscent of the tenacious Margo MacDonald, and a dash of Mo Mowlam (for those who are not familiar with UK politics, they left behind a fair set of boots to fill). Continue reading

Summer To-Do List: The Red Pen of Doom

Series. What’s on your list?

We all remember it. At school, it told us we need to try harder, this isn’t the right answer, and the nerve-racking “See me”.

However, at my school, I had a couple of teachers who liked to throw the cat among the pigeons and mark our work with a green pen, so bang went that theory pretty early on. Continue reading