Hello and Happy New Year!
— Lucy Avery (@LucyAveryWrites) December 17, 2014
I’ve not posted for a while because I’ve been busy working on the new draft of The Debra Project after the workshop days we had at Brockley Jack Theatre Studio in November. It’s very nearly finished now and I’m looking forward to the next step of development with the director and creative team: I’ve got as far as I can on my own. I now need a steer on which elements of the story work and which don’t from people less emotionally involved in the actual writing.
I also have a very exciting announcement regarding my other project Godless Monsters that I hope to share with you soon, but you’ll have to wait until it’s all confirmed…
Where do you find your inspiration?
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to see more plays and read more plays by playwrights I’m not familiar with. I read my favourite plays quite often and I usually see work by writers that I know and admire. These have all become key influences in the work I write. For example when working on The Debra Project I’ve looked to
- Dark Vanilla Jungle by Philip Ridley
- 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane
- The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Neilson
- The Street of Crocodiles (theatre production by Complicite who are a continual inspiration to my work).
Re-reading these pieces has helped me really think about the topic I’m writing about in theatrical terms, and has also made me think more about what I’m trying to say with the play. It’s inspired by pre-existing journals, but my exploration of them has, I hope, found a story that looks at the situation in an unusual way and brings you closer to understanding the subject.
I’ve also found inspiration from Simon Stephens’ new play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (an adaptation of Mark Haddon’s book of the same name) which I saw just before the new year. It’s a great theatricalisation of the book (with some lovely theatre tricks) and adheres to the advice that I’ve heard Alan Ayckbourn gives to writers: if there’s something important that the audience need to know tell them 3 times and they’ll get it. If an important plot point or important information isn’t mentioned, illustrated and then referred to again the audience won’t get it. (I hope this paraphrase has got it right). With something as complex as Asperger syndrome (which the main character has in the piece) the play introduces it very well to the audience and ensures we not only saw it, understood it but also got inside it from the main character’s point of view so no one could leave with any confusions about the disorder.
New adventures in playwrighting: 12 new playwrights in 12 months
As reading and seeing plays is just as important for developing your writing as creating them, I’m going to set myself the challenge of reading or seeing a play by a playwright I haven’t read or seen before every month this year to gain some new inspiration for my work. I was given this collection of Jack Thorne’s plays for Christmas, and although I saw his play 2nd May 1997 a couple of years ago and I have read his radio play People Snogging in Public Places (which is brilliant and I’d suggest everyone read it whether you’re a writer or not), I’ve never actually read one of his stage plays. He writes a lot for television now but has had a new play on at the Royal Court Theatre this month so looking at his plays is a bit topical too.
I’ll get reading and let you know any insights. If you have any playwrights you’d like to suggest I look at do get in touch!