|By Richard Marsh|
Skittles - Previews
Date: 30 July 2011
My name is Richard Marsh. I’m writing and performing the comedic dramatic poetic playic play Skittles. It’s at the Pleasance Courtyard at 14:05, which in festival terms is just after breakfast.
So, the Fringe hasn’t started yet, and no one knows who I am and most probably I’m blogging to myself. While no one’s reading, let me tell you a little bit about me:
I’m a playwright. I wrote All My Sons and Closer. I’m also a poet. I won the Nobel Prize under the pseudonym Ted Hughes and I wrote the lyrics to Guys & Dolls and Happy Birthday. If you like any of these, you’ll love Skittles.
My former wife:
I’m on the Northern line. Rush hour. Hanging on with one hand, the other holds a pen, pressing paper against my chest so I can write on the way to work. I’m getting pretty good at this, scribbling across my tits as I shape an Edinburgh show while earning the cash to pay for it.
I’m a bit sleepy. I performed a new poem for the first time last night, and then it was late, and now it’s early. Bits of the poem worked well and bits didn’t, so I’m combing through the words, trying to tease them into something better. It’s going to be part of the play, where my character first meets the girl he’s going to fall in love with.
This is a new way of writing for me – being able to road-test sections of the play in front of audiences, see how they go, then tweak them and try them again. A step beyond feedback from the cast (partly as this time, I am the cast) – feedback from the audience.
I’ve always enjoyed writing around actors. In my 2008 play Dad’s Money the cast would read the script every weekend, feedback and improvise and I’d incorporate that into the next draft. The cast of my last play, Nicked (reviewed by WOS here) (five stars, just saying) bore the brunt of this when we wrote two endings, according to the results of the AV referendum. Jason Langley – the fantastic actor playing Nick Clegg (he’s now a gay monk on HBO. The man has range) performed lines at a matinee Nick had only spoken that morning. This was a huge ask of him – learning new lines, cut and changes and performing them well. Jason was very tolerant. Working on Skittles, the performer in me is often frustrated by the writer. But the writer knows he’s improving things. The speccy tit.
During our second-last London preview, at the Hen & Chickens on Saturday, I got lost in the maze of re-ordering and ground to a halt on a couple of occasions. But although I’m making life hard for myself during the previews, I think I’m making the story clearer, simpler, more human. Hopefully, I’ll remember my lines when we get to Edinburgh. City of Dreams. Deep-fried dreams.
- by Richard Marsh
Any opinions expressed above do not represent the view of Whatsonstage.com nor any of its staff or contributors beyond the bylined author.
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