The Play’s Not The Thing
Our adaptation of Strumpet City has been cancelled.
Four of our Writers Group had agreed to adapt the book, which is Dublin’s “One City, One Book” for 2013, into a play for a city centre Drama Society, but we no longer have to do it.
This is not because what we had written to date was so dreadful that even an Amateur Drama Society recoiled in horror, but because of some issue to do with copyright. Apparently Dublin City Council had been unable to get permission from the author’s family to do any performances so the Council has told everyone to shelve any plans they had.
All of us, as one, are very disappointed.
Oh, except me. To be honest I’m thrilled.
It is a waste of lot of hard work, but there was more hard work to come, the hardest work of all, merging the bits we had all written, and re-writing and then re-writing. And then re-writing.
And all of the hardest scenes were still to be done. I had written two scenes so far and was part of the way through a third. So far I had written about a dinner-party, about an argument between two priests and was writing about a character being offered a job. When I asked what I should do next it was suggested that I try the scene where one of the characters commits suicide.
Never has the phrase “that’s not really my scene” been more apt. I wouldn’t have known where to start, and certainly do not have the skill to handle such a scene powerfully, believably or sympathetically.
It has not been a complete waste. I am quite proud of some of the stuff that is in my two scenes, and some of what I wrote will be stolen, if you can steal from yourself, and put into future posts.
And it made me try something different, taking someone else’s ideas and trying to represent them in my own words. It made me try to write a bit more seriously, and with a bit more depth. It took me out of my comfort zone.
Having said that, its nice not to wake each morning thinking ‘oh God, I’d better try and write some more of the play instead of one of my own daft ideas‘. It’s nice not to have to lug the book around everywhere so that I can read bits whenever I get a spare second. It will be nice to have spare seconds as spare seconds.
So I have invited the others to a ceremony where I go to O’Connell Bridge, at the end of Dublin’s main street, and hurl the book out into the river.
One of the group has suggested that this would be littering. I prefer to regard it as literary criticism, through the medium of performance art.