Post 23: “I've started so I'll finish…”

I've just had an interesting chat with my friend (the fabulous poet) Joshua Seigal. He used an expression which I thought was really useful for a show idea I’d had so I made him repeat it and wrote it down.

Every year, Lennie Msft buys me a new notebook for my birthday and writes “For your next play” in the card. I laughingly showed him the page which is in a section of my notebook I set aside 2 develop ideas for that show 2 years ago, and until this afternoon all I had was the title and some scraps of paper.

It occurred 2 me that apart from my almost finished new play, there are 3 other proper pieces in very early stages of germination that I have picked up and put down over the past few years and never progressed. However, I reference them quite often as “a thing I'm working on” despite not having written a single word on 1 out of the 3 in the past 5 years! I'm discounting random ideas that I scribble down and scratch out and only thinking about the fully formed concepts.

There are possibly good reasons for the delays. 1 of them would be very expensive 2 put on as it involves 2 rooms and lots of equipment. 1 would be complex as it is a dinner theatre idea which would work best as a fundraising event for charities. The best reason for ignoring the 3rd 1 though, is that it's personal. It would be me, as me. Even if someone else performed the show, it's not a character piece. That's a teeny bit terrifying.

The (as yet unwritten) show explores the idea of feeling like you're part of 2 worlds. For example, I'm a religious person engaged in a secular society. I have a neurological condition but I function in a way that usually renders it invisible, appearing well. I'm great with words but have dyscalculia so numbers are a mystery 2 me, though they creep into everything. Even being a writer and a director means inhabiting different contexts sometimes.

I'm used 2 sharing myself through my work but not necessarily as myself, for example in An Insomniac's Guide To Ambulances, the character of Leo was loosely based on a combination of Aryeh Myers and myself but at certain points in the play he literally spoke as one or other of us, in our words, describing personal experiences. I felt differently about it every time I heard it.

In my new play, Our Still Waters, I think friends and relatives will be able 2 spot me more clearly amongst the characters than in my previous work. The nearest I've come 2 it is through this challenge. I've kind of liked it. Maybe that will pave the way for me 2 come 2 terms with being myself on stage. Is it time 2 stop playing?

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