For our 17th night at the Door – yes that’s right, 17th – Boldtext Playwrights presented their third Doubled Up evening.
These are occasional evenings where two of our playwrights showcase longer extracts from work in progress to help with the development process of full length plays. This is invaluable for the writers, as it gives a chance to see the staging, the characterisation and the plotting working in front of audience and assess the way all these aspects can be improved/ changed/developed. Having said that, it is always a tense time as you see the audience react to your words for the first time but it often brings real surprises as sections you have struggled with seem to work effortlessly and unexpected moments of humour emerge which bring laughs rather than smiles. Of course, every audience is different but a number of real insights are always there for the writers. It is also a chance to work closely with directors and actors who bring their ideas and interpretations to help in a collaborative process and make work a real joy.
For our May 22nd ‘Doubled Up’, myself (Julia Wright) and Liz John presented the first 40 minutes of our full length plays. Liz’s World War 3 looked at the challenges of the environment facing young people and the lack of power they can feel at being able to decide their own futures. Liz had two days of workshop and rehearsal before the showcase, giving her time to develop and rewrite as the time progressed and see the characters arise as individuals, each with their own stories to tell. All the cast were playing teenagers/early 20’s and seeing the world from their viewpoint which gave Liz the chance to immerse herself in that world. The digital age has changed life so much for them, while some aspects of their emotional responses remain universal and easily able to be identified with.
My play ‘Unfollow Me’ (Julia Wright) was about the worrying consequences of stalking and its profound effect on, in this instance, a 25 year old young woman. I had one day of workshop/rehearsal before the evening and, as I directed it myself, I found the insights of the actors into the characterisations invaluable. The character of the male stalker was, obviously, really difficult in order to strike the right balance between understanding and condemnation so that he could be believable and not just a product of careful research. Each actor was able to look at the relationships within the play from their character’s viewpoint and make brilliant suggestions to enable me to make subtle changes to the script to produce major shifts of tension and complexity.
As usual, the show was sold out but on the night, there were 8 or 10 empty seats. Please can we ask our very loyal audience to cancel your reservations if you are unable to attend, as we are always having to turn away people who want to come but have no tickets. Our next show, Fake Times, is on September 19th and we look forward to seeing you there.