…and can 3 playwrights successfully write a play together?
Groups of writers seem to write for TV but there are only a handful of examples I can think of where more than one writer has written a successful play (and that doesn’t include musicals where it is common for the book, lyrics and composition to be written by different people). The most recent piece I saw was Greenland written by Moira Buffini, Matt Charman, Penelope Skinner and Jack Thorne, about climate change. I know both Moira Buffini and Penelope Skinner’s work (and am reading Jack Thorne’s plays at the moment) and sensed which sections Buffini and Skinner may’ve written, although I don’t know how they split the writing. The show was stolen, however, by the entrance of a polar bear which, unlike Shakespeare’s ‘Exit, pursued by a bear’ in The Winter’s Tale, was properly a part of the story and a joyous moment for the audience.
I mention this because myself and 2 playwright friends Marianne Powell and Annette Brook have set ourselves the challenge of writing a play together, or rather writing a triptych of scenes that share some commonalities. These commonalities are:
- The scene/scenes each of us write must be no longer than 20 minutes in total
- We have a maximum of 3 actors each, though they can play multiple roles
- It must be set now
We then decided on a few restrictions and we all have to use the same object, lyric and image as inspiration/within the piece. These are:
- Object: A small pink cocktail umbrella
- Lyric: “You know my wandering days are over, does that mean that I’m getting boring?”
Here’s the song it’s from:
- The image we’re using is the one at the beginning of this post by photographer Norman Parkinson
We talked our #TriptychChallenge over at a cafe over brunch and just to make sure we had an unknown element, we asked the waitress her name and that would be a character in the plays.
And so Daisy Scarlet entered the stage.
Our deadline for a first draft is Saturday 4th April which gives us all time to work our writing around our day jobs and try out a couple of ideas before we submit the inital drafts to each other. We’d then be looking for a director interested in developing the project with us for all 3 pieces to be performed together.
I find my initial thoughts looking toward Simon Stephens’ piece Harper Regan, which is about a woman who leaves her family one day in search of her father. That might be because I was already thinking about it as inspiration for another play I’ve been thinking about starting… Now I have a deadline set, my focus will move towards who or what is Daisy Scarlet?
I’ll let you know when we’ve found out. 🙂