Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Regular readers may well know that I have three fold reasons for not using buses whilst regular participants in my life will know that I've been ignoring these rules with abandon during the last few months as I'm unwilling to walk the extra twenty minutes from the station to the playhouse. And so last night, what with knowing that I didn't have to rush into Leeds as Thursday Night Live didn't start until 8.00pm, I found myself trapped on a number 56 in one of the special guided bus lanes behind a bus that had broken down. And - such is the laws of bus travel and the nature of those guided bus lanes - the breakdown meant that I was stuck. And was still stuck at 7:50pm, by which time I was starting to get palpitations because I've never been late for anything theatrical in my entire life and didn't intend to start with something involving my own writing.

At 7:52pm precisely I was saved - not by a knight on a white horse but by a balding bus driver on an emergency bus replacement who proceeded to break every speed limit known to mankind as he managed to do the remaining 15 minutes of the journey in under 6. After jumping off the bus and mini sprinting it past the BBC Building and up what - when you're late - seems like millions of steps outside the WYP I arrived just as the tannoy was declaring that Thursday Night Live would be starting as soon as everyone got themselves out of the bar and into the right room. So, after assuring Dean that I wasn't-oh-no-not-me-nervous (to be fair the bus had put paid to any possible feelings), it was up to the room in question where I found a suitable seat towards the back and discovered that 'REM's Back Catalogue' was 11th out of 19 pieces to be performed.

After a brief intro from Mark Catley the evening began. I smiled, laughed and got a shiver or two in places [and for once not due to the odd heating system of the WYP]. And then came my turn. Which, thankfully, didn't feel anywhere near as vomit-inducing as SSoB's first performance. Afterall I didn't have a projector to worry about.

And it seemed quite sparky, the dialogue flowed and there were only a couple of lines that I immediately thought 'ooo, they HAVE to go'. It did become clear - at least in my head - that one of the scenes was about thirty seconds too long. And the two longer speeches still weren't quite right, the beat of my writing wasn't being felt. But, overall, it did seem to work and - more importantly - had its own voice. Plus it got laughs. Even the stage directions - which were being read out - got laughs. So the egotist in me was somewhat pleased.

It also occured to me that I've learnt some significant things over the course of SYWTBAW? One - writing a ten minute piece doesn't scare me any more. Or at least it doesn't scare me more than is actually helpful. Two - The re-writes really worked. Three - Rules are helpful. I can ignore them if I chose, but only in knowing them can you do this. And Four - there are a lot of people out there who are talented and want to write. But there is the distinction between the want and the doing. Even if I never climb to the Paddy Marber heights I aspire to* I will be doing this for the rest of my life. Which was, possibly, the thread of 'REM's Back Catalogue'. At the end of the piece, to the sounds of the gig around them, Pete stands and asks his best friend Charlie what is out there for him now he's dismissed the last remains of his own aspirations. Charlie replies - in almost the anti-speech of everything I hold dear - that there is the world that greets everyone else each morning where:

"You'll wake up tomorrow get on the train and go to work, we'll go for a pint afterwards, have a laugh with the girls from Admin and then you'll go home and watch some tv. At the weekend we'll go to a gig or to a club and it'll keep on going like that. Other things might swirl around us but this is how it'll be".

For Pete and Charlie the tomorrow that greets them is the 7th of July 2005 but if that is the tomorrow does that make Charlie's viewpoint any more valid? For me, the answer has to be an emphatic no.

And, if you're wondering, I didn't hit five minutes.

*Though maybe I should amend that to 'Oscar Wilde' heights...


Billygean said...

*amused reading Punch*

Aesthete of Aesthetes!
What's in a name?
The poet is WILDE
But his poetry's tame!

- best aspire to his drama then.


Jen said...

OOh that has made me shiver.
Well done for the whole thing!!xxx