28 Plays: Time to Reflect.

I wrote a play every day for the entire month of February, 2017.

28, complete, short-plays.

Some were very personal, some where very bad, some were rushed, some had plenty of time to wander round my brain, some were written on a train, some from my bed, some from the house I where I was dog-sitting. Some sparked something in me that I’d love to explore further. Some will stay just as they are, odd little things, but evidence of a month of sustained creativity.

I surprised myself in many ways. I was pleasantly surprised at how disciplined I could be, and how I always found time, even if it was the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning(!), to create something.

I was also surprised at how important it is to me to be writing about women’s issues and mental health. The little-feminist-that-could kept creeping up in almost every play I wrote, and she was welcome there. Mental health, on the other hand, is something I would never have expected to want to write openly, and publicly, about. It’s something I’ve only just talked to my parents about, after 18 years of not knowing how. And that was just one explosive evening with very little follow up. So why did my writing keep circling back to mental health? Because it matters. Because I care. Because I need to talk about it. And because I want to contribute to the conversation, somehow.

So, maybe that somehow is theatre. Maybe some of these little plays will grow into something more substantial. Maybe there’s more to come.

Thanks for following, and watch this space 😉

Day Twenty-Eight, Play Twenty-Eight!!

“We started with 1928 – so lets end in 8291.”

I have a very spongy brain when it comes to anything musical. On more than one occasion, I’ve had something someone said stuck on repeat in my head just because I heard a rhythm in it. So, you can imagine how susceptible I am to radio jingles.

Hence 8-2-91 took me straight to “88-2-91 FM, BBC Radio Two.” And, so, I wrote my final play set in a Radio 2 broadcasting studio, on the 8th of February, 2091, interviewing an actress about her up coming Visual Reality play, ‘8291’.

I took that first idea and ran with it. This is what happened…


Day 28: 8291

Day Twenty-Seven, Play Twenty-Seven.

“So this is your opportunity to re-do a challenge. Pick any of the previous 26 challenges we’ve done and write a NEW play following that brief.
I bet you’ve thought of a few better ideas since sending in your first version.”

I hadn’t, I’d submitted each play and kept going, I didn’t look back.

But, I figured the fan-fiction brief had a lot of unexplored scope, after all, I am a fan of many things. I’d done a few Shakespeare nods, and the play I submitted for the fan-fic brief was Bill and Ted inspired, so I figured: Hey, let’s do Disney.

But I took the Disney princess back to their Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson roots and then set them in a not-so-distant future post-apocalyptic world.


Day 27: Just a Pretty Face

Day Twenty-Six, Play Twenty-Six.

“Step 1: Pick your favourite play from this year’s challenge (out of the 25 plays you wrote – which is the best one, do you reckon?).

Step 2: Check the word count of the play.

Step 3: Divide that word count by 2.

Step 4: Edit your play to the new word count.”

This was harder than it sounds, but I enjoyed working through this one again as it started off quite stream-of-conscious-y so it was nice to refine, and it was interesting to have to advocate certain passages and argue their significance in the piece.


Day 26: Voice /2

Day Twenty-Five, Play Twenty-Five

“Every writer has started working on something and then gave up halfway through. We all have somewhere an uncompleted idea or play. Your challenge for today, should you choose to accept it, is to find one of those ideas and complete them!”

This was, I think, the kindest weekend challenge of all!

I was really grateful for this challenge, though I didn’t have much time to complete it.

Ages ago, I wrote a spoken word piece inspired by Romeo and Juliet. Earlier in the month, I wrote another Shakespeare inspired spoken word piece… Today I combined the two to start developing my one-woman Shakespeare cabaret show!

(You’ve been warned…)


Day 25: If I Were a Boy

Day Twenty-Four, Play Twenty-Four

“Let’s write a play in a different language.
Some of you may know another language, and some might have to make it up!
Either way, make it work, but most importantly, make it interesting for an English speaking audience (Regardless of what language it’s written in).

Bonus – have a surprise ending! Surprise yourself. Get to the end and then do something you didn’t expect. A surprise”

This came from rolling my story dice, coming up with a number of components, then working them into a British Sign Language version of The Tortoise and the Hare.

Now, how do you write in BSL? Technically I didn’t, I wrote lines that could be easily signed and would, in my opinion, translate nicely to BSL on stage for a younger audience.

The whole thing was inspired by a beautiful production of Shakespeare’s Love Labour lost in BSL. So I tried to write with that in mind..!


Day 24: Slow and Steady

Day Twenty-Three, Play Twenty-Three

Today we’re going R@dI©AL!

There are so many different ways in which we can create radical theatre. Whether we want to look at how we treat our bodies or how we use language or humor or space or our relationship with the audience or gender or ethnicity or sexuality or narrative, etc.

So let’s do that today.
Pick something you want to be radical about – and go wild!


Bonus points for using a new word you’ve never used before… Particularly if you don’t understand what it means.

These are sort of all the parts of  my attitudes to food and exercise, exaggerated, radicalised, split into several personalities and having dinner together.

Who says this writing challenge is making me go crazy…?

It ended a bit rushed, but I enjoyed the concept.


Day 23: Too Much of a Good Thing

Day Twenty-Two, Play Twenty-Two

“Fan fiction is all the rage now…

So write something about your favourite characters doing something else.”

I’m a big fan of many things, Disney, Shakespeare, Musical Theatre….

Everything seemed too obvious, until it hit me, like a retro phone booth flying through the sky – Bill and Ted.

Keanu at his finest.


Day 22: A Most Excellent Send Off

Day Twenty-One, Play Twenty-One

Sorry for another delay in keeping these updated, been in the JAM* camp recently.

We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars, apparently…
so let’s get some inspiration from them.

Today we’re all about the rest of the universe.

I went to Star Trek, and stayed there – with a little Red Dwarf thrown in.

I love this genre, and I had language and communication on the brain, so just sort of explored that I guess!


Day 21: Babble

*Just About Managing.

Day Twenty, Play Twenty

Write a play under the title “Boundary Issues”.

Free reign!

I was inspired by a student piece I saw years ago at a university showcase. I loved it’s premise, and decided to mix that with one of the most beautiful concepts I’ve ever read in a play, from Brian Friel’s Translations.

I spend a lot of my professional life working with people for whom English is a second language. Communication can restrict people to within certain boundaries.

This play is about those boundaries, and how they can be overcome.


Day 20: Boundary Issues