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Friday, March 03, 2017

Blood and Bones. Play writng in the 21st Century.

Blood and Bones Theatre

Theatre is the oldest expression of some of the deepest human instincts.  The playwright’s job is to establish the complex process of thought that leads to that expression.  Yet in the post-rational twenty-first century just when they’re needed, many of the enormous possibilities of drama have been lost to a welter of superficial acrobatics, music and visual effect while the actual skills of playwriting - character construction and dialogue and as a vehicle for understanding the fundamentals of human nature - have been downgraded such that the playwright him or herself is thought of as mere pen holder for other theatre makers. Playwrights are kept at arm’s length from the creative process by the dread shadow of The Dramaturg and the play reading committee.

This series is not a handy how-to-do-it guide but rather a personal meditation on the place of the playwright in contemporary theatre.   It suggests that if theatre is to survive it needs to re-engage with its audiences by offering something to challenge the immediate attraction of film, television and other narratives. It needs to find its soul again and offer what is its unique properties.  To do this it needs a powerful cohort of playwrights and it needs them once again at the heart of the playmaking process.  Playwrights like me need to stop titting around with ten minute sketches and applying cap in hand to futile competitions.  We need to be bolder, braver and prouder of what we do because I firmly believe we can contribute in some way to getting the world back to a more humane, rational way of progressing.

I am particularly fortunate in that I was able to learn my craft in what, with hindsight, appears to be a golden age of theatre.  I have had opportunities to work alongside great actors and within companies who believed in the essential power of drama. I have been able to learn from people who knew their craft and I hope I have been able to pass that on in writing workshops and as a director working with young and established actors to this day.

So, if you are a playwright, actor, director. Audience member or all round lover of theatre come with me on my ramble through my own head as I try to understand what it is I’ve been playing with for the last forty years