Tuesday, 31 August 2010

A momentous meeting...

Yesterday afternoon. 2.30 pm. The sun is shining outside but I am sitting at a table in a dim theatre with two of Dublin's impresarios as we hammer out how we are going to collaborate to get my play on stage in this space.

The walls around us date back to the 17th Century in parts. There are tables behind littered with books that feature this space in its heyday, that mention the subject of my play, George Farquhar, as he trod the boards - escaping from his very deadly Divinity degree in Trinity College, Dublin - back in 1696/7.

There are weary stretches of boards from the original stage, bits of plasterwork, the alcove above us - filled in at a later stage - is where the sets were pulled from for the vast repertoire of plays the theatre staged. There are oyster shells - apparently the snack of choice in restoration theatre. And there are the open plans for how it will look when it has been made ready for an audience of 240+ next Spring - and it will look magnificent. This is Smock Alley Theatre, the oldest and most historic theatre in the city, and it is coming to life.

There is a fantastic array of skills being brought to the table to ensure that my play is staged and staged phenomenally and imaginatively. It's the most exciting time, when so much energy is spilling in the right direction. A photo is taken to mark the occasion.

And to think, I almost didn't write it.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

An Interesting and Fruitful Week...

I have agreed a director and production company for my play, A Fresh Gale and Cold Chicken. He is as passionate about it as I am, very experienced as an imaginative director and determined to make it happen.

We're talking next Spring. For the launch of Smock Alley theatre. Fingers crossed, toes too... all we need now is money!

My daughter and I saw the first episode of Punky too, last Tuesday. It's lovely, really beautiful and sweet and will be a fantastic series. They were finishing voice recordings on the first six this week, and the pre-publicity will begin to roll soon. The publicity that says, "yes, it is happening. Watch this space!". Exciting.

Unfortunately, this week we also buried the last of my father's sisters, and the most colourful of all that generation in our family. I didn't know her well, being at the tail end of my family, but I grew up hearing stories about her. A party animal,who lived life to the full, she could jitterbug in a way that emptied dance floors - y'know, the over the head, spun around her partner's body, flung under the legs and up again... it sounds tiring just writing it! She also had, and this is a phrase her son used, "a voice that could cut hedges"... which I thought was wonderful!

But I also discovered my father's other sister, who died a month ago, was a doyenne of high society and something of a fashion icon in Ireland in the late 40s and fifties, written about in society columns here and abroad. She was one of Ireland's first real businesswomen, running the travel information bureau in Brown Thomas'.

I knew her as a talented artist whose nail varnish always matched her shoes, who grew smaller and smaller like a little delicate bird over recent years.

As I said, an interesting week!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Interesting Times...

From feeling quite flat after that period of major productivity, things are looking up again. Next Tuesday, I see the rough cut of the first episode of my animation series, PUNKY, animated by Monster Animation under the directorial hand of Jason Tammemagi.

How many series are being made, in reality, in Ireland this year? To have one doing just that, thanks for the tenacity of the producer Gerard O'Rourke, is phenomenal and I can't wait.

On Wednesday, I get to see my latest great-nephew - my tenth great niece or nephew! (Scary, but true!) And on Thursday, I meet the director/ producer interested in putting my play - A Fresh Gale and Cold Chicken - into production next year. I had been told he required chasing; he himself told me to "hound him" and yet he was the one who made first contact looking for an early opportunity to meet. Which feels fantastic.

So I'm all spurred on again, juggling the different projects in my head that I want to get my teeth back into and thinking about my next play. There are a few I had to put on the back burner but are any of them the right one now? Would I be better coming up with something utterly new that captures the energy of this latest one? Or a children's play? Or a comedy?

I want to write so many things! Where is the time, and what should I really focus on?!

I can list at least five projects I really, really want to get back to.

Meanwhile, my daughter only wants me to play Littlest Pet Shop. We have worlds laid out in the sitting room with doll's house furniture, even if upside-down tables are doubling as beds, and each of us has a business. Mine is a book-store, hers is a magical park that covers a table, a shelf and a stool.

I've sneaked out to the office on the premise of collecting a new range of books for my characters - one hamster, one bird, two cats - to sell to hers. So long as I keep creating little books, I get to write a little more...

Nope, the idyll is over. She has informed me that my book-store is too full of books and it's time to take up the reins again. Sob!

School's back on September 1st.

Monday, 16 August 2010

An Inspiring Clip

... from the writer Markus Zusak. He wrote The Book Thief, which I still feel is one of the best books of all time.

It's not long but he explains how he came to write the book and how he feels about writing. Definitely worth watching, but his reasons for writing, the passion that we all feel for this madness that overtakes us when we start developing a new idea, the reason we couldn't stop, no matter how disillusioned we become, is worth holding on to.

Here's the link:



Saturday, 7 August 2010

Pettigrew the snail

Pettigrew the Snail has absconded, taking all my creativity with him. Or maybe we have swopped lives. I have become the snail and he is out there churning out great works of wisdom and passion. Hmmmmmm...