Right, last instalment in my review of the scripts I wrote for the 28 Plays Later challenge in February. Surprise finding for me has been that they were not all entirely awful. I mean, the point of the challenge was to help get people writing, and it certainly did that – I wrote all 28 plays to the deadlines, often staying up late into, or through, the night and getting up early in the morning, and still going to work most days and trying to do family stuff, too. That was enlightening, and exhausting. I’m a very slow writer, usually – I like to dwell and mull before committing to the page. This was very different, and kind of exciting.
The prompt for this one was to “take the opposite view”, so for some reason I wrote an extended torturous metaphor for Brexit. Didn’t manage to sincerely embody the opposite view, though.
23: The fly in the ointment
Looks like the prompt for this one was Utopia, which was great, because I’d already written about Thomas More and have been intrigued by utopias for years. And the bonus prompt was to let the stage directions go crazy. So I adapted More’s Utopia and set it in the future and in space, and added a crime and a solution that was, literally, perfect.
24: Four idols
Truth, reality, philosophy, theatre. Big ideas. Abstract concepts. A chance, therefore, to resurrect a play I wrote and produced in 2005 (not very successfully, it has to be said). This version was more fun. Favourite line: Theseus: “I love it when you talk hurty.”
Asked to go back and finish an incomplete script, I chose a short story idea I’d been failing to write and wrote it up as a play instead. Not much story, but interesting staging.
26: Torsten and Ethel
10-8-6-4-2-1. I guess that referred to numbers of characters or other elements, but I can’t discern them from the resulting script. I set it in a residential care home, for some reason, and although it’s rather cliched and by-the-numbers, the end is actually rather moving.
Favourite line: “Don’t you ‘young lady’ me, not today, I’m not in the mood for a lecture from a deluded old gent with a buttling complex.”
27: The Hydroalchemist
The prompt this time was to replay one of the previous challenges. I chose to revisit another unfinished script, this one dating back many years and based entirely around the title, which I liked, and the opening scene, which was a storm and you knew it was a storm because the opening two lines were the first and last lines of The Tempest.
28: Big Pacifism
Having started with brave little soldier, we ended with cowardly big pacifist, so I wrote a monologue for the kind of people who think it is their role in life to tear down what others have built. You know who I’m talking about. (It was a bit of an anticlimax, to be honest, but I was knackered by this point.)
And that’s it! 28 plays, a lot of dross, some potential gems – maybe my challenge next year will be to take the most promising seeds and develop them into something substantial. Wish me luck.