oneACTS 2016 – Playwrights

The writers of the plays tell us about their plays and themselves;

Waiting for  Brother by Anthony Coleman 

IMGP5674-2I knew I wanted to write a play about a brother and sister. The catalyst was my mother-in-law who died recently. She suffered from vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s but always had a sharp mind and parts of that edge never left her. During WW2 she had been a Wren on the code breaking teams at Bletchley Park. For the play I think “Fanny” must have taken over as some kind of bizarre pantomime MI5 alter ego. The Naval Captain, however, is an elderly local gentleman who sometimes passes my door.

But it is also about choice – about the choices that we don’t have, especially as we grow older and frailer with politicians appearing to ignore this vital issue of care for the elderly.

This is my first stage play although I have written fiction intermittently over the years so I very much appreciate the incentive this festival has given me to get writing again.

Come Fly With Me  by David Gray

IMG-20160303-WA0000I really can’t recall exactly what inspired CFWM – probably one of many scenarios you might list on a rainy Sunday afternoon which seem funny at the time. But once the characters – and just as importantly their situation – were established the ideas seemed to flow. I think the dual worlds of human being and dog which so wonderfully play off of each other in Brian from Family Guy were an influence.

This is his third play for the Cornerhouse One Acts. He staged a double-bill of his plays about the monarchy The King and Me and Not in Lineat the Cornerhouse in 2010 and a full length play El Comodin /the Joker in 2012. He recently completed an MA in playwriting at Royal Holloway College. He has also scripted some experimental short films about London’s lost rivers with shooting planned for this Summer

A Start by  Michael Barry

michaelbA Start’ reflects my own playwriting struggles. One version of conventional wisdom says: the problem with writing is never the idea. Great ideas are everywhere, just look around and pick them up! Making up a plot to take the idea to a satisfactory resolution? Come on! We all know the three-act structure! Giving the idea life with great characters? Easy! There are real people all around you! I wanted to give a glimpse of the process as it is: blundering, messy, comic; cudgelling your brain to produce a procession of clichéd ideas, uninspired characters, feeble plot points, all to be discarded in mounting fury until, somehow, (somehow!) you get to the end of a draft – when the re-writing starts. And if all this weren’t enough, inner demons gather to murmur that you aren’t quite there, and wouldn’t a spanner dropped just here really help the work along?! Enjoy my pain.

Ruffled Feathers  by Susan Cooke

DSC00014Ruffled Feathers is about a group of people, the Saga Players, who have overstretched themselves – literally as well as figuratively. I was inspired to write this after watching a TV programme about non­dancers being trained to do ballet. It was surprising how graceful some of them turned out to be and incredibly moving to see how much joy it gave them. So then I wondered what if an Am Dram group decided that ten weeks training in the church hall was all they needed to put on ‘Swan Lake’? And what if they got a really bad review? It was a ludicrous idea but I hope the audience will enjoy it.

I had another play, ’Name Dropping’, accepted by the oneACTS festival a few years ago but also write sketches, duologues and short plays for my drama group to perform at Drama Festivals.

Naked Truths  and Rupert and the Search for a  Modern Adventure by Michael Staniforth

MichaelStaniforthRupert and the Search for a Modern Adventure is an homage – with apologies – to Alfred Bestall, surely the finest of the Rupert illustrators who lived in Surbiton for much of his adult life. The differences between today’ssocietal attitudes and Bestell’s stories from a more innocent, naïve, male-dominated and very politically incorrect age felt like a good topic for comedy.

Naked Truths is hopefully slightly deeper and more serious than a male-dominated and very politically incorrect desire to see female stage nudity.

I am a recovering television journalist who started his career with Aberdeen Cable, TV-am and British Satellite Broadcasting. I like to claim it was pure coincidence that all three closed down shortly after employing me. My short plays have been produced by Theatre 503 and Putney, West Avenue and Ghost Dog theatre companies. I live in Streatham with a complete set of Rupert annuals and an embarrassingly large collection of saucy seaside postcards.

A Deathly  Audience by Andy Earnshaw

Andy Headshot 2016A Deathly Audience is a play of understanding frustration. Henry Cautleworth, who is successful, pseudo-intellectual and confused as to what it all means, is a typically modern man. He is desperate to discover meaning and uniqueness.

Born in the early 90s, many of my contemporaries seem unwilling to be content with their lot and yet equally disinclined to do anything about it. A doctor’s son from West Yorkshire, I’ve grown up caught between the material benefits of success and the stagnant pool of poverty that is the post-modern north. Writing, whether poems, stories or plays, is a form of counselling, allowing me to square the circle of disconnection. Henry Cautleworth is, for me, a frustrating character made all the more so by how much of myself I see in him.

Welcome to  Whitemore and Little Grains of  Sand by Andy Moseley

CH4Neither of the plays have ended up where they started out. Little Grains of Sand was originally a small part of a far bigger story, then became a bigger story by itself, then shrank down to become the play that’s in the oneACTS. Welcome to Whitemore was originally inspired by a town in America with a population of a hundred, and four thriving liquor stores thanks to a nearby Native American reservation. Various people from the reservation wanted the stores closed down to stop their family members going there. The idea was to write about the last night of one of the stores, but other things took over, the store became a bar, the bar isn’t about to close, and the reservation is just somewhere nearby.

My playwriting career began with the oneACTS and ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight?’ in 2009. That play went on to Edinburgh and was also performed in Memphis last year. I’ve taken two more plays to Edinburgh, including ‘After We Danced’, which was first performed at the cornerHOUSE last year. It’s nice to be part of the oneACTS again, and I’m looking forward to seeing the directors interpretations of both of the plays.