Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Time To Be

The Bible is right with one thing even if not much else and that is there is a time for everything; a time to be born, a time to die, to sow and reap etcetera. In my case it certainly applies to the writing of plays each one of which has its own gestation period, some of it fairly lengthy, for example THE MUSES DARLING.
ROSEMARY was another and it wasn’t until I heard of the real Rosemary’s death that the floodgates opened and the play was finished in five days. It is still one of my favourites but apart from a reading at James Madison it is yet another waiting to see the light of day.
I had for more years than I can remember also wanted to write book and lyrics for a musical on the life of that incredible grand horizontal of La Belle Époque, La Belle Otero, but it refused point-blank to be born until the composer Christopher Littlewood came to live on Crete in a village not four kilometres away and this was an opportunity not to be missed; fate I suppose you could call it, and the work was soon finished. But that was eleven years ago and there has been not a nibble since. The book was submitted to the Cameron Mackintosh office together with a demo disc Chris had produced in Athens and, although it received high praise from underlings, Cameron was heard to shout, “No money! There’s no money!” Come off it, Cameron, after Lionel Bart, Andrew Lloyd Webber and that other world-wide phenomenon Les Miz there’s no money? Who are you kidding? I would have thought with the billions that have poured in together with investment from backers, Cameron could afford to be just a little more adventurous but there you are, it is not to be.
So to continue with the woes and wails of someone who considers himself to be the most underrated and neglected playwright of the twentieth/twenty first centuries.
October last year I wrote out the synopses of no fewer than eighteen plays (Not the sum total of my work) and did a round robin of UK companies. My efforts elicited two responses; from a small theatre, who couldn’t possibly mount it because the size of the cast would be prohibitive, asking about THE 88, and an e-mail from Clwyd saying it was difficult to judge from a synopsis and would I send them a play. So I sent ROSEMARY since when there has been silence. At least eight plays have been out for months, in a couple of cases years, to people (friends?) with theatrical connections, particularly in the states – result? – silence. In the old days before the home computer sending out printed manuscripts by snail mail and including return postage (not that the scripts were always returned) used to cost a small fortune. Now, with the advent of the internet it no longer costs when attached to an e-mail.
Are my plays really so bad that simply no one is interested in them? I should really be depressed but having just past my eighty-second birthday I’m afraid the time for dreams and ambition and consequently depression is over. I would like just one work to really take off so that I would know I left something financially worth something for the others when I shuffle of this mortal coil.

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