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Playhouse Playmaker - panic and determination

Playhouse Playmaker - panic and determination
posted 28 Feb 2017

With just three sessions left to go, Playhouse Playmaker Carolyn Lloyd updates us on the group's (slightly panicked) progress...

Time’s running out…

We’ve all suddenly realised, with varying degrees of anxiety, there are only three sessions remaining, and only two left for the six of us to finish writing our full length plays! Rising panic has begun to mix with iron determination to Get On With It.  So now is the time where I need to stop researching (a guilty pleasure) and fiddling with the plot synopsis and start writing. No, I don’t need to check Facebook. No, I do not need put the rubbish out. It’s remarkable how many displacement activities are essential before you actually start writing. What every brilliant writer needs is ‘arse power’: the ability to sit at the keyboard and write! And of course, once started, I don’t want to stop…

In February, we had a very constructive session, which is always enjoyable because of the humour around the table. The six of us are all of very different ages, and come from different backgrounds and writing styles, but the environment created by the group is always encouraging and supportive. It can be lonely as a writer with just your keyboard and brain to keep you company, so this group is amazing. On your own, you don’t really know if you’re writing drivel or brilliance, but you very quickly find out within the group…

Time as a device…

John Retallack started Saturday’s session with a look at how time is handled in plays. He guided us through three excellent plays:  Love, Love, Love by Mike Bartlett, Constellations by Nick Payne and Pink Mist by Owen Sheers. We explored ideas for non-linear story lines. Really interesting.

To give us a chance to play with this, our exercise for this session was to take the age old story of Cinderella and re-imagine the story in a non-linear way. This resulted in some hilarious and highly creative suggestions!

Renata Allen joined us in the afternoon, and John led our discussion group in his inimitable way, challenging and encouraging in equal measure. We each get about 45 minutes to receive feedback and suggestions for our plays. Most of us are at about the same point: a compelling story, believable characters, clarity on objectives and obstacles, and we’ve all started to write certain scenes.  But now we just need to settle in and write the darned things!  

Time to reflect (and to work)…

We had a delicious supper provided for us by the Oxford Playhouse and accompanied by a bottle of wine (thank you John!). It’s a bonus to sit round the table with new friends, who were strangers in October, and to know we share the same love of theatre and obsession with playwriting.

Over the last few months, I’ve often been totally out of my comfort zone, challenged more than I expected, loads of self doubt, but I know I’m so lucky to have had this special opportunity. Now, back to writing that play. Or shall I make a cup of tea? Maybe I’ll just check Facebook…

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