I read last week in Baz Bamigboye’ column in The Mail that Daniel Radcliffe is to do a new play in London. He has chosen Martin McDonagh’s play ‘The Cripple of Inishman’ which he describes as having pathos, heartbreak – “and it’s very funny.”
Some time ago while he was in America, knowing he would be looking for something to do after ‘How To Succeed’, I sent him a copy of my play ‘Rosemary’ which has pathos, heartbreak and is very funny and which I feel has a humdinger of a part for an actor his age and was right up his street. I have no doubt that in the avalanche of mail he receives (or somebody receives for him) it was more than likely trashed without being looked at. Shame really. He would have been excellent in it. Well why not? Who is this Glyn Jones who has the temerity to ask Mister Radcliffe to read one of his plays? He is a nobody; hardly anyone has ever heard of him. He is, in England, probably the most neglected ignored playwright of the twentieth/twenty first centuries. His last play to be produced in London was at The Old Vic in 1979 ruthlessly, with one honourable exception, massacred by the English critics. To say they descended on it like a pack of rabid dogs is putting it mildly. Was it such a bad play? No. Audiences were in complete disagreements with the critics so why the execration from the hacks? Well it was put on shortly after Louis Mountbatten’s murder, the critics thought an Irish subject at the time was just not cricket and at the pre-production press-conference one or two of them made no bones about how they felt. So the critics won. It took five years to research and write, fourteen years to get produced and, thanks to the critics, two weeks to come off. (It would seem some critics are under the impression that a play is written on Monday, rehearsed on Tuesday, and performed on Wednesday.)
Well not to worry, carry on regardless. It took two years for me to recover and start writing again but since that fiasco I must have written five or six more (of which Rosemary is one) plus a musical based on the life of that nineteenth century grand horizontal La Belle Otero. Though being somewhat fed-up with the theatre’s neglect I have also produced seven books published and four finished and waiting. Not that they’re exactly selling like hot cakes but at least they are out there in the big wide world for anyone to pick up. Silly me, I invariably do what Ecclesiastes instructs one to do; that is cast my bread upon the waters, a stupid injunction and a stupid thing to do really, it invariably either sinks or comes back soggy and completely inedible
But hey! Nothing venture, nothing gain, when at first you don’t succeed etcetera (full of ye good old clichés I am) on a recent Wednesday I sat down to start on a play I have actually been wanting to write for more years than I can remember and, much to my surprise by the following Tuesday it was finished. Six days! (Noel Coward eat your heart out) Well, because it had been gestating so long I suppose it virtually wrote itself. A couple of days to look it over tweak a bit, polish a bit, add a bit, subtract a bit and there it is – ‘The Muses Darling.’ And, if you are knowledgeable about Elizabethan matters you will know it refers to Christopher Marlowe. Like the recent film ‘Anonymous’ it is a big question mark over the writings attributed to Shakespeare only in this case it is not de Vere but Marlowe. Yes I know, there is nothing new in this theory either, the only new thing about it is a spanking new play. So there you are Master Radcliffe. Maybe when you have finished with all you have on your plate at the moment you might like to consider playing Christopher Marlowe. No? Though, as I have passed my 81st birthday, I could very well be dead by then. Perhaps Samuel Barnett might like Rosemary but then I should imagine he is probably taken up for a goodly while as well. Hey-ho!