Before I ran away to Edinburgh, I had a table reading of my play Shed at Waiting Room in Colchester. Shed is the big one, it’s had the most time spent on it and is the closest thing to a full length, ‘proper’ play. It started as a one page play I wrote at the University of Essex. It grew and was shown alongside ‘Hard Places’ at the Mercury Studio on 10th September 2012. The original single page came second in the One Page Play competition hosted by Hotbed Festival in July of last year. A first draft was performed at St Martins Church on 1st September as part of Gari Jones’ renegade presents Voices In The Dark. And I haven’t touch it since.
If you’re not familiar with Shed, it the story of Jonathan, an illegal border guard who charges people to get out of the corrupt country in which he lives. He tells himself he is making money for his family’s protection and will leave eventually, but the more people he meets, the more he doubts himself, his actions and what’s on the other side of the wall. Small confession, I wrote that synopsis years ago and is no longer all that accurate as Jonathan has a sister. Anna is still in the country trying to build a rebellion following in her father’s footsteps.
Anyway, with this event, I hoped to have a better understanding of my play Shed. I invited other theatre writers and creative persons to do a table reading of the play and, for lack of a better word, rip it apart. I wanted my character’s to be questioned and plot holes to be found. Despite a number of emails and sharing the Facebook event to anyone and everyone, only one person showed up. But Ruth was incredible. She talked me through things like treatments and tag lines. She found all my spelling mistakes, questioned everything and made most of it flawless. Most of it.
“Your ending… it doesn’t fit the rest of the play.” It wasn’t until she said that that I saw it, just how poor my ending was! It was a rush job, making it approximately an hour for Gari’s Voices In The Dark. Thank God the BBC didn’t read past the first ten pages, it only went down hill from there. So what I thought was final touches and polishing is actually a complete rewrite of the last three or four scenes. Sigh. Best crack on.