Creative Futures and the 37 Plays

The RSC is on a nationwide search for playwrights.

I truly believe that creative thinking is one of the most underrated yet massively important functions of our own minds. The reason I say this is because of the number of people that believe they are not creative, yet every day use their imagination to solve problems or find ways around obstacles that interfere with their normal routine. Understanding that these thoughts are in fact their imagination could be the key to unlocking potentials they never thought they had.

“Everyone has a play in them.”

I attended a workshop at the Grand Theatre Blackpool for the 37 Plays project this week. This is a creative initiative run by the RSC and their partner theatres to encourage the nation to have a go at writing a stage play. Being someone who has always been fascinated with the process of writing for the stage, I purchased a ticket.

So, along with about 30 people, we were taken through the process of creating a character and writing a short monologue. Out of this group, the majority declared that they “weren’t writers” but always enjoyed writing so thought they’d “have a go.”

As each exercise was completed, people started to read out their work. Remember, this was not a masterclass in the craft of writing, it was a workshop to look at the process of creating. The quality of the work coming from these “not writers” was brilliant. After years of working with people in the poetry community, and other writing groups, I was not surprised by this, more delighted. I found it reaffirmed my belief that everybody has the ability to tell their story, they just need to find the best way to be motivated and disciplined enough to see it through to the end.

I think this 37 Plays project is a fantastic idea. It’s completely open to everyone, so there is an equal chance of getting your work performed. Give it a go. One piece of advice though, have a read of a play or two, just to get your head around how they work, then don’t hold back. Get writing and share your amazing mind with the rest of us.

Dan Leno

Today started with the discovery of an old book. I was looking at a quote from the great Victorian comedian Dan Leno.

ah! what is man? wherefore does he why? whence did he whence? whither is he withering?

Dan Leno
Dan Leno. Comedy genius.

It comes from his autobiography Hys Booke first published in 1899. I was intrigued and found a website that specialises in the publication of out of print books called forgotten books. They have most of the book available to read for free, though after speed reading the pages I ordered a copy for my own shelves.

What struck me was how funny was finding Dan Leno’s writing. This is a text over 120 years old and most of it read like any modern comedy book. I know Dan Leno is considered to be the greatest comedian of his time, however, his influence on comedy today is so apparent. Not just in the way he single-handedly change pantomime to the style we see today, but the level of his wordplay and metafiction is something I was not expecting to find.

I first became aware of Dan Leno thanks to the stageplay Naturally Insane! written by David Slattery-Christy and starring Britain’s Got Talent finalist Steve Royle (who shares an uncanny likeness to the music hall genius). The play is stunning and I can highly recommend it should you ever get the chance to go. The late, great Rud Hull was an expert on the life of Dan Leno. He actually wrote the foreword for a reprint of Hys Book when it was reprinted in 1969. He was also due to start in David Slattery-Christy’s play before his untimely passing during the pandemic.

I am now a fan of this comedic trailblazer. A hero in his time, an inspiration in ours.

Welcome to the Metablogic Multi-verses

In the Metablogic Multi-verses I will attempt to convey thoughts on anything I find or think or read or watch in the world that is my writing.

I will share techniques I use to overcome writer’s block, explore story ideas and discuss projects I am working on. I might even include to occasional review of music or books; if I have found them interesting enough to spice my creativity.

Basically, this will be where I talk a lot about writing.

Enjoy. 🙂