Starting to write the play

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I am currently working on the script for the community performance that will take place during Love Parks week as a key part of this project. And right now – as I always do – I have reached the point where I am scratching my head a little.

This is my thirty fifth community theatre script for Excavate (we used to be called Hanby and Barrett) and whenever I am tasked with creating a text based on history – particularly one that doesn’t necessarily tell a specific story such as that of a particular individual or of an episode in the history of a town or village, but rather a history that is much more sprawling – then there are all manners of questions that I am faced with. And in producing a script that is also a site specific one, and not only that but one which will lead the audience on a journey through four separate spaces, the challenges become even more interesting. It is in many ways like putting together a jigsaw, or answering a puzzle which contains the following questions:

  • How do I decide which history to include so that the essence and the key elements of the history are conveyed without the performance becoming drowned in historical detail?
  • How do I create a framing device in which to tell this story?
  • How do we use the space in which we are telling the story as a key element of the storytelling process?
  • How can we ensure that the audience can see and hear everything that is going on as we create a performance that takes place in a public space?
  • How can we ensure that the performance will work on a number of levels so that it can be enjoyed by the keen historian to the younger child who may have little interest in the historical elements of the play but is more interested in the storytelling techniques?
  • How can we ensure that this performance will work in four unique spaces?
  • How can we ensure that each space is honoured within the text and the performance?
  • How can we involve as many local people connected to each park in the performance in that park?
  • How can we open up the production process in other ways to local people?

There are, of course, answers to all of these questions; and some can be discovered during the rehearsal process. But right now – as always happens – I’m wondering just how on earth I’m going to find a way to stitch it all together.

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