Background artiste from 'Better than Stars'

Thursday, 7 June 2012

After a long dramatic pause ...

... I'm back.

And there I hope the similarity to a couple of famous movie appearances comes to an end: though the fact that both the Terminator and the pilot in Independence Day are male does have a certain relevance.

To explain: a week or two ago I was playing roles in three different productions. Two of them are now finished, and I've got time to blog again. It was only when I referred to the movies that I got the link to the fact that two of the roles I was playing were males, gender-swaps for me. Perhaps I should go with the flow and blog about writing from the point of view of the opposite gender, etc. ...

*No. You sat down to write about shifting between creative media. Stick to the point. You can do the other one next*.

It may appear from the little internal debate above that I'm a bit confused, unsettled. Maybe I am, but none the worse for that I think. A common writer complaint is the feeling that you're getting in a creative rut, can't see the story for the paper. Something that shakes you up can be the best thing for getting things moving again. And there's such a thing as trying too hard.

All my life I've been torn between two impulses: to make theatre (i.e. to act and direct), and to write stories. They can seem to be separate, even conflicting, although I don't think it was always so. A dramatist in Shakespeare's day would have been referred to as a poet, and people talked about going to "hear" a play. Recently the two forms have seemed to converge for me, even to support each other.

Since I decided writing was going to be my main focus, the opportunity to be in a number of plays has come my way, and when I'm in a performance (except when it's really busy, as recently) the writing seems to flow. My earlier post Where Do All the Stories Come From? may have something to say about this.

But the biggest surprise for me has been how, now that I've actually sat down and written a couple of books, the techniques I've studied in drama have helped me to do it. Exercises to stimulate creativity and build character are obvious crossovers, but the huge revelation is how much writing a novel is like directing a play. You have to pay the same attention to pace, timing, balance ... and never forget your audience.

So here I am, refreshed, inspired (?) and ready for lots of writing. Expect to see me around again.

Just one play left to keep my mind spinning, until we perform next month at least. And yes, I am playing a bloke.

1 comment:

Derek said...

The play's the thing and play's the thing too. Welcome back!