Play Writing – Script Reading – Drama Listening

Some of you know and some of you do not know, that I joined a Script Writing class at The Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield last year and I loves it!  In all my years of scribblings, I had never tried to write a play and as I love going to the theatre so much I thought I would give it a go.  Another reason for my joining the group was that I had always struggled with writing dialogue in my pieces.  I’m good at waffling on about nothing in particular, but when it comes to pinning down a character and making them use their voice, they kind of know what they want to say, but it never comes out quite right!  So what better way to grow my weak seedling attempts at dialoguing than to throw myself into a medium which depends almost solely on the quality of the dialogue?

Our lovely teacher Emma Hill (is she a teacher?  She does teach us things. Not sure if she enjoys the title or not. She acts, writes and directs in real life… I’ll have to ask her what her preferred identity is) is very helpful but also a tiny bit mean – we have to do homework all the time!  This week, along with developing our characters and plots, we were asked to read a play of our choice and summarise that play.  As I am so very busy and important (what? I so am) reading plays as well as developing my amazing script and doing all the other things that I do was a little tricky to fit in.  I had a browse in Waterstones anyway and picked up a couple of TV screenplays and some Alan Bennett monologues.  I noticed that right next to the Drama section, there is a whole bookcase dedicated to audio books on those compact disc whatsits.  I had a bit of spare time so I continued the browse in that direction.

I have never explored the audio book genre before.  I’m not sure I want someone to read to me and I’ll tell you for why:  I love reading for its privacy, for its imagination stimulating potential, and for the whole world that it opens up just for you, the reader.  Adding someone else’s outside, real life voice to the equation seems to take away somewhat from the experience.  Of course, this experience is always improved by having actual time to sit down for hours, possibly in conjunction with a bubble bath and a large glass of Rioja…  As I perused, some titles caught my eye on the shelf informally ear-marked for plays.   This is the one that I picked up:


“The History Boys” by Alan Bennett.  I then had an epiphany, which incidentally bumped up my geek by about 72%.  What if I did allow someone to read for me, nay a full cast of actors read for me, nay a full cast of award winning actors perform a full length play for me when and where I wanted?   I wouldn’t have to find time in my hectic and oh-so-busy schedule to study the text.  Instead, I could utilise my time efficiently by listening to the whole play in my car!  Amazing.  Sold.  You’re welcome Waterstones.

Admittedly, listening to a play in the car does have its downsides.  My tiny journey to and from work means that it took about ten journeys before the final curtain call.  And I did miss listening to my music in the car.  I have invented a new and obscure route to work that is so sparsely trafficked that I can get away with embarrassing and extravagant singing, without being seen by so much as a wood pigeon.  But I absolutely loved hearing the characters and experiencing the play as I drove. It was like a drive in movie.  Except I had to keep driving.  And there were no pictures or popcorn.  And it wasn’t a “movie” at all, it was a play.

I think the thing I like most about listening to a play in the car, particularly one by Alan Bennett, is that it has such an air of sophistication.  After a ten minute drive I’m certain that my intelligence levels shot up tremendously (see, big words), imagine what an hour would do!  It’s much more impressively cultured than my usual car listenings (I have recently had an obsession with some of the 942 Glee albums).   So now that I have finished listening to “The History Boys” I have to write a little bit about it.  I had intended to do that here, but I’ve just waffled haven’t I?  Soz.

So that’s it.  I basically just wanted to share with you that I am now accepting audio books as presents for birthdays, Christmas and Thursdays.  Preferably audio books of plays/ dramas.  Or anything read by Stephen Fry, because I heart him.

As mentioned previously, I have quite a collection of Alan Bennett work to wade through now. Expect lots more about him in the near future.  I might even do a review or two on those monologues.  You lucky people.

Ciao for now



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