From February until September when, as you may remember, my publishers left me swinging in the breeze, I kept myself busy. Ever one to try and improve the shining hour I organised my used plastic bags into size order, scrubbed the tile grouting in the bathroom and wrote a play. I used to write a lot of scripts but no-one asks me these days and I still have an unfulfilled ambition to achieve a professional performance of a full-length play. You gotta have a dream, if you don’t have a dream…..
I have an agent, of course, but agents have to keep one bloodshot eye on the bottom line so generally speaking they’re not terribly interested in trying to place an original stage play which will earn them the thin end of bugger all. I decided to try a bit of private enterprise and so sent my script to the reading panel of a provincial producing theatre. Who mislaid it, unread. It took them six months to lose it which is approximately the same length of time one should allow to get an unsolicited script read. Perhaps it’s propping up a wonky table leg somewhere.
Next stop was my agent. Oh, but first let me tell you about my play. It’s a comedy in two acts, for four actors, three of whom should be of advanced years. The setting is Lancashire, the set requirements are modest and it doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell even of getting read because – and now I’ll share with you the relevant words from my agent’s notes – because theatres today are looking for edgy, bold work that asks sharp questions about contemporary issues. And my little play is the kind of thing seniors’ would enjoy at a Scarborough matinee. Get the picture
Her other lukewarm suggestion was that I re-tailor my script for radio and try the BBC. And there was me thinking I was the comedy writer! The BBC! Who haven’t employed me in ten years precisely because my themes lack edge and fail to address contemporary issues. Exit Laurie Graham, stage right, to the sound of hollow laughter.
So, if you know of an amateur dramatic group looking for a play suitable for seniors, send them my way. There’s only ever one way to know whether a script works and that is to hear it read by actors. Have script, will travel.