ONE JEWISH BOY
A MESSED-UP BITTERSWEET TALE OF INHERITED TRAUMA, THE MIRACLE OF CHANUKAH, RAGING ANTI-SEMITISM, THE END OF YOUTH AND STAYING IN LOVE…
What makes us human?
Researching a new play…
Click on the image for a Radio 2 essay by Garry Kasparov
RUN until 01 Apr.
The Homeless Man (A True Story I Want to Remember)
I was feeling really shit today, like proper one of those days where you’re just like ‘what is the fucken point even getting out of bed’ where the whole world seems stacked against you and you wonder why you bother cos you’re never going to win and I’m crazy tired cos I’ve barely slept cos I’m essentially a not so secret mentalist blah bore blah and I usually love Thursdays right cos on Thursdays I have my story lining meet up with Marcus and Sophie – cos we’re making this telly thing together and I really love it… it’s my favourite project right now and anyway I’m feeling crappy and its cold and I’m walking down from Old Street station towards Clerkenwell and this homeless guy catches my gaze and he grins at me and he just says ‘good morning’ thats it, ‘good morning’ but the joy and the optimism, the happiness in his voice cuts into the very depth of my soul and I start to well up, like embarrassingly so, and I put my hands in my jacket pocket and kind of shrug and half smile and as I’m walking away I feel paper in my hand and realise it’s this fiver that I didn’t put in my wallet and I start to worry if it’s patronising to go back and give it to him and then I think, no its not, because he just made me feel 100 times better and the least i can do, the very least is buy him breakfast, so I go back and I say ‘your good morning just meant the world to me’ and he puts his hand on his heart and he says ‘I know’ and I give him this fiver and I say ‘I know its not much but i hope it helps a bit’ and he smiles and thanks me and I walk on…
And we have the meeting and a lovely breakfast and Marcus almost convinces us he’s a sentient being from another world and it’s almost 1 and I’m walking back to Old Street, and the homeless guy is still there and I smile at him as I walk by and he says, I just had the best spaghetti bolognese I’ve had in years from that little cafe over there (and he points at it) and then he says, thank you. And he really means it.
And it just felt really special.
This little film I wrote was commissioned by GOOD Agency for The Restorative Justice Council, it highlights their work with young men who have been the victims of, or have committed a crime. It’s recently been nominated for a Drum Content Award and is now also up for a Charity Film Award. You can watch it below and vote for it here.
Counting Stars: Screens at Theatre503…
We’ve been getting amazing reviews. Aleks Sierz…who I love… said...Laughton delivers a powerful vision of where we are at the moment..
…Screens is a short but compelling play. I especially like Laughton’s dialogues, which perfectly catch the nuances of sibling rivalry and family angst. His sense of the contemporary includes references to Brexit and Pokémon Go, and his images, from the symbolic dead cat to the escalating numbers of retweets as one of the protagonists is accused of being a paedophile, generate a lot of energy… The Upcoming gave us 4 stars and described the play as.. Brilliantly written, Screens is witty, relevant, moving theatre… 4 Stars from What’s On Stage. There is nothing but solid performances from this cast of five, but as brother and sister Al and Ayşe, Declan Perring and Nadia Hynes stand out – they’re passionate, angry and lost. They’re at the heart of this thought-provoking, eye-opening play that tells a story often not heard, that needs to be told. 5 stars from LGBTQ Arts Review – Beautiful writing and sharp wit dominate the stage, while stunning acting performances; most notably from Nadia Hynes who’s heartbreakingly honest portrayal of Ayşe, a daughter trying to maintain her identity as her world slides and skews around her, must not go unnoticed… 4 more stars from Reviews Hub – Screens fights shy of wrapping up complex emotions with a neat and tidy bow. With a simple staging by designer Georgia Lowe, Laughton’s exploration of identity…continues to unpack itself in one’s mind long after the house lights have come up. Everything Theatre also gave us 4 stars. Commenting that Screens is: Highly enjoyable, funny, thought-provoking and well written, this play is justly housed at one of London’s leading fringe theatres for new writing. It’s clear there is more to come from both cast and writer. 4 stars too from London Theatre1, who said: It’s certainly a provocative production, and one that rightly dispenses with offering universal solutions to the issues raised. There’s much food for thought in this uncompromisingly forthright and vigorous play. 4 stars from Reviews Gate.The reviewer commenting that Laughton has pedigree and doesn’t disappoint with his latest, before going on to say about the play – Laughton’s dialogue is funny and peppered with contemporary nuance whilst Brown makes clever use of juxtaposition between characters’ on stage reaction and what’s going on online…Flawed but Laughton’s writing and director Brown who produced the politically charged Walking the Tightrope programme for Theatre Uncut after the terrible Charlie Hebdo tragedy deserve to be seen much more. An important milestone. Exeunt Magazine don’t offer star ratings. However they gave us a lovely and thoughful review. Hynes is a standout for her brash, brilliant, and deeply troubled Ayşe. Perring’s Al is honest and sincere, and their relationship as siblings (while being ideological counterpoints) feels genuine….Screens is about the pursuit of our own self-identity. More specifically, of how we measure ourselves: are we defined by who we are or by what we do? The question is of course relevant in an age of constant self-fashioning and branding, but it’s also pressing when national identity is being used as a tool to unite some to the exclusion of others. While Screens sometimes gets lost in the chaos, perhaps that’s part of what the play is about: when navigating through a constant barrage of media, swiping right, scrolling down, image after image, meaning after meaning, it can become overwhelmingly challenging to realise one’s own image.
Emine is more interested in a dead cat than her kids…Al is lost in Grindr, battling an online dating landscape, which seems incompatible with his incessant need to mollycoddle his ungrateful, acid-tongued sister Ayşe – a fierce and intelligent young woman, who is drowning in the mire of social media. Screens focuses on a Turkish-Cypriot family barely treading water, who clings onto a sense of self and identity as it suddenly begins to unravel.
Stephen said, “Screens is me exploring issues surrounding my own identity: boy, man, gay, Londoner, Midlander, Cypriot, Jewish. It’s a really important play for me, and it’s been a long time coming. When you’re neither one thing nor the other, you end up constantly questioning what you are. When you originate from a place of partition, can you ever really be whole? ”
Screens is a witty yet dramatic play using the lesser-discussed conflict in Cyprus as a backdrop to tackle the stigma-infused topics of homophobia, discrimination, violence and loss of self amongst refugees from various partitioned communities: Jewish, Palestinian, Indian, Pakistani, Catholic, Protestant, Sunnis, Shia.
Set against a hyper-modern online framework based on fleeting moments of connection, the play captures the zeitgeist of split personality, the forced weight of tangential interactions and the consequential fluidity of identity – online, for real, and most importantly those that are defined by inheritance.
High res images, further press information, quotes and interviews available.
Paul Bloomfield 07590 023320 email@example.com
Notes to Editors:
Performance Dates: Tuesday 9 August – Saturday 3 September 2016
Performance times: Tuesday to Friday, 19.45, Saturday, 15:00 and 19:45
Director – Cressida Brown
Lighting/Projection Design – Richard Williamson
Associate Lighting and Projection Design – Dan English
Sound Design – James Frewer & Jon Mcleod
Design Consultant – Georgia Lowe
Wardrobe Assistant – Emma Hughes
Stage Manager – Richard Irvine
Deputy Stage Manager – Susan Burns
Production Manager – Richard Irvine
Producer – Paul Bloomfield
Associate Producer – Robyn Bennett
PR – iN BLOOM
Al – Declan Perring
Ayşe – Nadia Hynes
Emine – Fisun Burgess
Ben – Paul Bloomfield
Charlie – George Jovanovic
iN BLOOM: @ In_Bloom_Ent
Theatre503, The Latchmere, 503 Battersea Park Road, London SW11 3BW, https://theatre503.com
Tickets are available priced £15 (£12 concessions) Pay What You Can Sundays Available from Theatre503 Box Office and https://theatre503.com , 020 7978 7040.
Alternative Film Posters
Check out our exclusive alternative posters. We’re going to use them in our film…
I’m making a new short. Watch this space.
In the meantime, check out my beautiful, talented cast…
and then we ran…
1 week. 6 shows…. some sold out, some not quite…
The audiences said amazing things and then the press got onboard:
Exeunt Magazine came down to review the play, and found Run to be a quietly extraordinary piece of work…
The Jewish News gave the play 5 stars, calling it a one act masterpiece. Run is a feat of astounding brilliance, it is visceral, engaging and deeply emotional.
Reviewer James Waygood gave us 5 stars, saying Run is an astonishing achievement in new writing. (…) Powerful, dizzying, and astronomic, it’s a masterful tale of growing up, falling in love, and loss in a time of turmoil
The Stage recommended Plays from Vault, the official anthology of five of the best plays at the festival (Run is included) as one of their best books for theatre professionals.
Tom wrote a piece about the play for Attitude Magazine.
We featured on the official Nick Hern blog.
I was a guest on Gaydio.
Oli was interviewed by The New Current.
Now it’s onwards….to see what else we’ll do with our beautiful little play…
We do Run, Run, Run, We do Run, Run
We’re in the last week of rehearsal…. It’s cool and it’s scary (it’s also very exciting and the run I saw yesterday was amazing!)
We’ve been getting some media attention too:https://nickhernbooksblog.com/2016/02/04/out-of-the-vault-highlights-from-vault-festival-2016/
Check out our leading man Tom in Attitude Magazine.
And our director Oli in The New Current
We’re on this week. Yay. We open on Wednesday 10th Feb. Come see us.
2016 – Plays from Vault, Plays in Vault and Courting Drama
Diary date announcementy things…
24th January: I’m directing Balloon. Written by Nathan Lucky Wood. Starring Ellie Burrow and Paul Bloomfield. Check it out at Courting Drama at Southwark Playhouse. 19.30pm. It’s a great night and you can see some other awesome plays by the likes of Chris Adams, Camilla Whitehill and Lisa Carroll.
28th January: Leading theatre publisher Nick Hern Books has partnered with VAULT Festival, London’s biggest and most exciting arts festival, to publish Plays from VAULT, an anthology comprising five of the best plays from the upcoming VAULT 2016. And RUN is included…
It’s the last day of term and Yonni’s pissed off. He just wants to get away from Mum, away from Shabbat and head up to his room. That’s where Adam is. The only person Yonni wants to be around, think about, be about…
And as the night unfolds and falls into chaos – some of it real, and some of it not so – Yonni pulls us into his world… A world filled with school riots, first loves, beached whales, political demonstrations, cinema, sex and rebellion.
Brought to you by Vault Festival favourites Rogues’ Gallery Theatre Company (Folk Contraption and The Incredible One Man Pandemic) and penned by acclaimed playwright Stephen Laughton, Run is set in London, right now, and encompasses all of Time, Space and the Universe. Performed by rising star Tom Ross-Williams and directed by Rogues’ Gallery Artistic Director Oli Rose, Run explores what it means to love, to lose, and how to grow from a boy into a man.
With original music by Helen Sartory.
I’ve basically been writing this summer. Managed to get through two plays and half a movie. Whilst I’m away. Have a look at this tattoo I want.
Courting Drama|Run|Southwark Playhouse
Me. Four other writers. A bunch of directors.
Courting Drama showcases five new collaborative partnerships and the five pieces that they create and mould together.
My play, Run, tells the story of 17-year old Ethan. As he breaks Shabbat to spend time with his boyfriend he finds himself on a journey across London facing shame and sexuality and love and loss and the weight of impending manhood. All played out against a strict religious framework that seems to drag alongside the world he’s growing up into
Get tickets here.
I’m really excited about working with the amazing Headlong Theatre on their emerging writing programme, Headstart.
Launched in February 2015, Headstart brings together a diverse group of writers, passionate about their art-form and wanting to further develop their skills and knowledge. As is often the case it’s relationships with your peers that are the most empowering. Writing can often be a lonely experience and one of the key aims of Headstart is as a forum for writers to share their own techniques, processes and experiences in a supportive environment. Over a six-month period Headstart will bring its writers together with leading industry figures to discuss and understand the various practical skills needed to develop their voice and hopefully guide them to their next creative break-through.
More about Headlong and the really exciting work they do here.
My play, Nine, has been selected to be part of the Playwrought#3 Festival at the Arcola Theatre this January. Part of the 2015 Creative Engagement Winter Season. The dates for the festival are: Monday 12th January 2015 – Saturday 17th January 2015
A Turkish-Cypriot family are barely treading water. İsmet is more interested in a dead cat than his kids…. Al is lost in Grindr, and Ayşe – a fierce and intelligent young woman – is drowning in the mire. She commits a horrific assault, and rips the already torn fabric of the family apart.
Set over one night, against a hyper-modern online framework based on fleeting moments of connection, the play aims to capture the zeitgeist of split personality, the forced weight of tangential interactions and the consequential fluidity of identity – online, for real, and most importantly those that are defined by inheritance…
Date & Time:
January 13th at 9pm
Studio 2 at the Arcola Theatre
PlayWROUGHT is the Arcola’s week-long festival of new writing. For this, its third successful year, over a hundred new plays were submitted and considered. Now experience twelve of the most exciting stories in live, one-off rehearsed readings.
Life Out of Balance
Scottish Professor Speaks Out Against Boycott of Israel
Received by e-mail from the author, Dr. Denis MacEoin, a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly,
TO: The Committee Edinburgh University Student Association.
May I be permitted to say a few words to members of the EUSA? I am an Edinburgh graduate (MA 1975) who studied Persian, Arabic and Islamic History in Buccleuch Place under William Montgomery Watt and Laurence Elwell Sutton, two of Britain ‘s great Middle East experts in their day.
I later went on to do a PhD at Cambridge and to teach Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University . Naturally, I am the author of several books and hundreds of articles in this field. I say all that to show that I am well informed in Middle Eastern affairs and that, for that reason, I am shocked and disheartened by the EUSA motion and vote.
I am shocked for a simple reason: there is not and has never been a system of apartheid in Israel . That is not my opinion, that is fact that can be tested against reality by any Edinburgh student, should he or she choose to visit Israel to see for themselves. Let me spell this out, since I have the impression that those members of EUSA who voted for this motion are absolutely clueless in matters concerning Israel, and that they are, in all likelihood, the victims of extremely biased propaganda coming from the anti-Israel lobby.
Being anti-Israel is not in itself objectionable. But I’m not talking about ordinary criticism of Israel . I’m speaking of a hatred that permits itself no boundaries in the lies and myths it pours out. Thus, Israel is repeatedly referred to as a “Nazi” state. In what sense is this true, even as a metaphor? Where are the Israeli concentration camps? The einzatsgruppen? The SS? The Nuremberg Laws? The Final Solution? None of these things nor anything remotely resembling them exists in Israel , precisely because the Jews, more than anyone on earth, understand what Nazism stood for.
It is claimed that there has been an Israeli Holocaust in Gaza (or elsewhere). Where? When? No honest historian would treat that claim with anything but the contempt it deserves. But calling Jews Nazis and saying they have committed a Holocaust is as basic a way to subvert historical fact as anything I can think of.
Likewise apartheid. For apartheid to exist, there would have to be a situation that closely resembled how things were in South Africa under the apartheid regime. Unfortunately for those who believe this, a weekend in any part of Israel would be enough to show how ridiculous the claim is.
That a body of university students actually fell for this and voted on it is a sad comment on the state of modern education. The most obvious focus for apartheid would be the country’s 20% Arab population. Under Israeli law, Arab Israelis have exactly the same rights as Jews or anyone else; Muslims have the same rights as Jews or Christians; Baha’is, severely persecuted in Iran, flourish in Israel, where they have their world center; Ahmadi Muslims, severely persecuted in Pakistan and elsewhere, are kept safe by Israel; the holy places of all religions are protected under a specific Israeli law. Arabs form 20% of the university population (an exact echo of their percentage in the general population).
In Iran , the Bahai’s (the largest religious minority) are forbidden to study in any university or to run their own universities: why aren’t your members boycotting Iran ? Arabs in Israel can go anywhere they want, unlike blacks in apartheid South Africa . They use public transport, they eat in restaurants, they go to swimming pools, they use libraries, they go to cinemas alongside Jews – something no blacks were able to do in South Africa .
Israeli hospitals not only treat Jews and Arabs, they also treat Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank. On the same wards, in the same operating theaters.
In Israel , women have the same rights as men: there is no gender apartheid. Gay men and women face no restrictions, and Palestinian gays often escape into Israel, knowing they may be killed at home.
It seems bizarre to me that LGBT groups call for a boycott of Israel and say nothing about countries like Iran , where gay men are hanged or stoned to death. That illustrates a mindset that beggars belief.
Intelligent students thinking it’s better to be silent about regimes that kill gay people, but good to condemn the only country in the Middle East that rescues and protects gay people. Is that supposed to be a sick joke?
University is supposed to be about learning to use your brain, to think rationally, to examine evidence, to reach conclusions based on solid evidence, to compare sources, to weigh up one view against one or more others. If the best Edinburgh can now produce are students who have no idea how to do any of these things, then the future is bleak.
I do not object to well-documented criticism of Israel . I do object when supposedly intelligent people single the Jewish state out above states that are horrific in their treatment of their populations. We are going through the biggest upheaval in the Middle East since the 7th and 8th centuries, and it’s clear that Arabs and Iranians are rebelling against terrifying regimes that fight back by killing their own citizens.
Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, do not rebel (though they are free to protest). Yet Edinburgh students mount no demonstrations and call for no boycotts against Libya , Bahrain , Saudi Arabia , Yemen , and Iran . They prefer to make false accusations against one of the world’s freest countries, the only country in the Middle East that has taken in Darfur refugees, the only country in the Middle East that gives refuge to gay men and women, the only country in the Middle East that protects the Bahai’s…. Need I go on?
The imbalance is perceptible, and it sheds no credit on anyone who voted for this boycott. I ask you to show some common sense. Get information from the Israeli embassy. Ask for some speakers. Listen to more than one side. Do not make your minds up until you have given a fair hearing to both parties. You have a duty to your students, and that is to protect them from one-sided argument.
They are not at university to be propagandized. And they are certainly not there to be tricked into anti-Semitism by punishing one country among all the countries of the world, which happens to be the only Jewish state. If there had been a single Jewish state in the 1930′s (which, sadly, there was not), don’t you think Adolf Hitler would have decided to boycott it?
Your generation has a duty to ensure that the perennial racism of anti-Semitism never sets down roots among you. Today, however, there are clear signs that it has done so and is putting down more. You have a chance to avert a very great evil, simply by using reason and a sense of fair play. Please tell me that this makes sense. I have given you some of the evidence. It’s up to you to find out more.
Drunk Dial (Part Three)
There’s so much I want to say to you.
I read and re~read your messages and there’s such sadness at times.
The unhappiness you feel when you reach out to me…the other night, the pajama message when I was away.
And then you close up again.
And I never know if you’re just playing me.
I suspect it’s that thing when the sad jock kid reaches out to the fat chick he know fancies him because he knows she’ll always reciprocate. Even though my reciprocation in this game is me telling you to fuck off before I go away and think about it for a few days and come back with the I love you you needed to hear before. But I can’t keep playing that game.
I laid it bare, talks, messages, the lot…I essentially begged you…
I was completely up front and open and you said no.
I gave you 4 opportunities to make it work. I would have moved for you. I would have paid for you to move. YOU said no.
So sadly that door is shut.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t care and don’t worry about you.
My response yesterday was shit. I should have been kinder. I’m sorry.
Today might not be better…. I’m gonna tell you what you need to hear.
The ugly truth. It’s tough love but love nonetheless.
You have got to start living your life. You shut yourself off to everything. You’re so scared of feeling that pain you felt when you lost your dad you won’t put yourself at risk again. You shut down to me the second you admitted you love me. That fear is why you still live at home. Its why you said you hate sleeping next to me. Except when you fall into it, it’s the happiest I’ve seen you. It’s why you quit your last job. It’s why you enjoy the crazy of this latest one. It’s why you keep your friends close but not too close. It’s why you leave parties early. And stay at work late. It keeps you just interested and busy enough not to think, without having to invest anything personal. Getting yourself embroiled in the knee-jerk whims of everyone around you means you can enjoy the life you crave without investing anything into If you’re not available, you’re safe. But what actually happens is that gnawing you sit on, that cold you avoid, creeps up on you and it’s worse than the pain of having a broken heart or any of these other human emotional experiences because it’s not tangible enough to defeat, get over or grow from. It’s there and ever present and lonely and it rots away.
So stop it. Now. Live your life. You’re beautiful. You’re intelligent. You’re so sensitive. Live. Your. Life.
Fuck your job. Fuck everything.
Sit yourself down. Work out the one thing that will make you happy and then go and chase it and don’t stop chasing it until it’s yours. And don’t be scared if you don’t get it. Because even if you don’t. You’ll know you tried and you’ll pick up better things along the way. The things you didn’t even realise you need. Realise it’s ok to need. It’s strength not weakness to allow yourself to need. And go and do it now, whatever or even whoever it is. Convince the world, but more importantly convince yourself you have the courage of your convictions and stop wasting your life away as a slave to your own fear. For fuck sake, start living.
Open your heart and your head and start living your life before it’s too late.
Three Jewish Boys
Tell your mom I love her
Tell her she’d get it
Don’t piss him off
Tell her she’s well fit
Don’t tell her that!
Tell him we need to get home
Tell him I’m trying
Tell him we should hitch
You tell him
Tell me the time
Yeah tell me the time
Tell him Brazil are playing Croatia
Tell him to stop complaining
Tell him it starts tonight
Tell him I know
Tell him we’re gonna miss it
Tell him there’s a time difference
Tell each other!
Tell him that car stopped
Tell him to talk to them
And to hurry up
And that there’s three of us
Tell him to shut up.
Don’t tell me that
Tell him to run ahead
Tell them where we’re going
Tell him to stop
Tell him they have guns
Tell him to run
Tell him I’m hurt
Tell him I know
Tell him I’m bleeding
Tell him they’ll hear us
Tell him I can’t see
Tell me what to do
Tell him to be brave like his brother
Don’t piss him off
Tell him he taught me how to stop the bleeding
Don’t talk about my brother
Tell him I’ll stop the bleeding
Tell him I’m scared
Tell him we’ll be out of here soon
Tell him we shouldn’t have been hitchhiking
Tell you what… be quiet
I have a plan
Tell him the plan
I’ll tell him in a minute
Tell him now
I’ll tell him in a minute
Tell him it’s too late
Tell him they’re coming
Don’t tell him that
Tell him they’ve seen us
Tell him to shout for help
Tell him not to
Tell them we’re Jewish
Tell him they know
Tell him they’re here
Don’t tell them that
Tell him to put his hands in the air
Don’t say anything
Don’t say your name
Don’t say where you live
Tell them about Koby
Don’t give them ideas
Tell them they’re in trouble
Don’t piss them off
Tell them we can help
Tell them it’s the Sabbath
Tell them I’m American
TELL HIM TO SAY SOMETHING
Tell him I’m thinking
Tell him yourself
Tell him there’s a way out
Tell him I saw it on the way in.
Tell him there’s just one guard
Tell him they have guns
Tell him I know
Tell him it won’t work
Tell him it will
Tell them about shever and tikkun
Tell them we’ll forgive them
Tell them nothing
No. Tell them its war.
And tell them there are no virgins
That it’s a lie
Don’t piss them off
Tell them it’s been days
Tell them we’ve had enough
Tell them I’m tired
Tell them I’m hurt
Tell them we’re just kids
Tell them I’m hungry
Tell them I’m thirsty
Tell them you need the toilet
Tell them you’re in pain
Tell them it’s broken
Tell them they’ll pay for this
Tell them I give up
Tell them we’re sorry
Tell them I have brothers
Tell them we didn’t do this
Tell them we did
Tell them we’ll do anything
Tell them we have money
Tell them to stop hurting me
Tell them we work hard
And we’re clever
And we can help
Tell them nothing
Tell them they’re wrong
Tell them we were here first
Don’t tell them that
Tell them we’re accidental settlers
Tell them we’d like to share
Tell them we’re sorry
Tell them it’s gonna be ok
Tell them it wasn’t us
Tell them it’s a mistake
Tell them this is our home
Tell them we were driven out
Tell them we came back
That they attacked us first
Tell them we took our land back
We will keep taking our land back
Tell them the world will be looking for us
Tell them we have guns
Tell them we won all the wars
Tell them we’ll win this one
Don’t tell them that
Tell them they can make a change
Tell them they can break the cycle
Tell them they can be the good guys
Tell them the Tefila Zaka
Tell them please…
Tell them it hurts too much
Tell them I’m frightened
Tell them when it’s over
I’ll come looking for them
Tell them I will
Tell them I promise
Tell them they’ll be sorry
Tell them I’m gonna fuck them up for this
Tell them it’s just the beginning
Yeah. Tell them he’s a hero
Tell them they’ll die for this
Don’t piss them off
Please tell them to stop hurting me
Ask them for some food
Ask them for a drink
Ask them how long
Ask them if we can watch TV
Ask them if we can go to the toilet
Ask them if we can call home
Ask them why
Ask them what we’ve done
Ask them why us
Of all the kids
Ask them why
Ask them nothing
Ask them if they have kids
Don’t ask them that
Tell him not to be frightened
Tell him to be quiet
Tell him we’ll protect him
Tell him god will
Tell him he’s too loud
And it will be over soon
Tell him about that time in camp
Tell him how we sneaked out
Tell him how we did it together
Tell him we can do it again
Tell him we’ll win
Tell him there’s not many
Tell him we’re heroes
Don’t tell him that
Tell him we’re leaving
Tell him to keep quiet
Don’t frighten him
Tell him we love him
Tell him to stop screaming
Tell him they do it more when he’s screaming
Tell them it wasn’t me
Tell them I didn’t know
Tell them I’m just a boy
Tell them I never hurt anyone
Tell them I like to read
Tell them I play with their children
Tell them it hurts
Tell them they’re going too fast
I’m going to fall
Tell them they’re hurting me
Tell them I’m innocent
Tell them I’m scared
Don’t tell them that
Tell them about that time I found one of their boys and he was hurt and I helped him and I gave him water and my t-shirt because the sun was burning and the guns were loud and I protected him and he thanked me
Tell them he was scared
Tell them he was young
Tell them I saved him
Tell them I’m a good boy
Tell them I’m good
Tell them I just want to go home
Tell them I won’t say anything
Tell them I promise
Tell them I can’t see
Tell them they don’t have to put that over my face
Tell them I can’t breathe
Tell them I can’t breathe
Tell them I’m scared
Tell them not to take you away
Tell them no
TELL THEM NO
Tell them not to do it
Tell them the bang hurts my ears
Tell them you were my friends
Tell them I’m just a boy
Tell them I don’t deserve it
Tell them they’re cowards
Tell them they’re monsters
Tell them I’m sorry
Tell them I don’t care any more
Tell them they were my brothers
Tell them I’ll miss them
Tell them just do it
Tell my mom I love her
Drunk Dial (Part Two)
Thanks for the message… but… um…. what the fuck…?
HOW DARE YOU AFTER EVERYTHING JUST THINK YOU CAN JUST ROCK UP AND BE LIKE OH HI, I’M SORRY I TRASHED OVER YOUR HEART BUT NOW I CAN SEE YOU’RE ALL FINE AND HAPPY AND SORTED AGAIN I REALISE I’VE MISSED YOU…
I Love You With All My Heart.
1980. A heavily pregnant 16 year-old girl finds a photograph of the house she was born in. The house she was expelled from in the Turkish invasion of 1974. Where her mother was murdered. Her father taken prisoner.
She illegally enters the occupied Northern Cypriot territory two days later…
1996. Summer in a small coastal town, a fucked up family, pot, music, idealism, fucking on E’s, a boy, a girl, a boy, a beached whale, rain, heat, howling winds, teenage angst…the pull back home, the end of something perfect… A love story by the sea.
A mix tape made… a letter found.
2014. Funeral arrangements. The return of an old friend. Fragmented memories. A teen boys grief. A beached whale. An unlikely love. The end of a life long friendship.
A tape. A photo. A letter.
…is about love.
About legacy and identity.
About how we’re defined by what’s left behind.
About the hangover of partition, of a dying empire and arbitrarily drawn border lines.
It’s a play about finding a corner to call your own.
About breathe and suffocation.
About the man you wanted to be vs the man you became.
I Love You With All My Heart is a play about three kids who wanted to change everything.
The Mix Tape
- Hyperballad – Bjork
- Manhattan – Ella Fitzgerald
- Killing Me Softly – Fugees
- Temptation – New Order
- Champagne Supernova – Oasis
- The Day We Caught the Train – Ocean Colour Scene
- Broken Stones – Paul Weller
- The Universal – Blur
- Glory Box – Portishead
- Caught a Lite Sneeze – Tori Amos
- Our House – Crosby, Stills and Nash
- Hurt – Nine Inch Nails
- This Charming Man – The Smiths
- Street Spirit – Radiohead
- It Must be Love – Labi Siffre
- Tonight, Tonight – Smashing Pumpkins
- A Design for Life – Manic Street Preachers
- Devil’s Haircut – Beck
- Female of the Species – Space
- Your Song – Elton John
It begins in 1948.
On a radio, on a stage… broadcasting news flashes:
The birth of Israel.
A Post-War Cyprus fighting for an identity.
A crumbling Namibia under the pro-apartheid rule of South Africa.
A broken Britain at the end of an Empire.
It ends in 2014.
The world will someday be at your feet, my sweet little boy. You will be able to make your mark and I will always be there to support and encourage you to chase your dreams, no matter what.
You’ll have a beautiful life. I promise it.
I love you with all my heart.
The song that inspired the entire play.
Caught a lite sneeze
Dreamed a little dream
Made my own pretty hate machine
I’m working with new a new indie called Blacklisted on a new ‘coming out’ drama called Forward – there’s a bit of an announcement here and another one here. There’s some website action from Blacklisted here. More to follow…
Sad Song Project
Beautiful sad shit for when you just can’t sleep….
Drunk Dial (A short I’ve been working on…)
So I’m going to do something now that I’m never gonna do again.
Because I have my pride and uh I’m not gonna beg.
But I’m also a little drunk and I’ve also spent um the last ex amount of hours talking about you.
And um… and I’m gonna fight for you one time, um cos everyone’s worth a fight, at least one time, right?
And I’m gonna tell you that yeah it’s early days and… all of those things, but the feeling I feel for you is the closest proximity to love that I’ve ever known.
And that some of the times and some of the places where we’ve connected have meant the most to me than anything that I have ever known.
And I’m trying not to over romaticise what goes on between us but…
what’s always been the litmus test for me is the ‘miss you’ factor and um
Actually the song ‘The Time is Now’ by Moloko keeps going through my head. Cos there is there is this lyric about being the first thing and the last thing on my mind. And every day since I met you, you’re the first thing that I’ve thought of, and you’re the last thing that I’ve thought of…and… it crushes me the amount that I miss you.
And I’ve just never known that.
And I think that’s worth fighting for.
And it saddens me that that you think this is scary and intense and uncomfortable for you, and I know that fucking last weekend wasn’t great and (exhales) you freaked out a bit and I freaked out a bit and it wasn’t as good as all of those other weekends and I could tell, you know, that the reality had set in…
But the reality doesn’t have to be intense and it doesn’t have to be dark and it doesn’t have to be trapping.
It can be freeing because I genuinely feel, with my hand on my fucking heart that love is actually freeing, and I know that that sounds bullshit or whatever but the love that I have for you would never wanna hold you down or never wanna hold you back. It it it would genuinely wanna make you the best man that you could be.
Because that would make me more happy than anything.
Fucking hell I’m getting emotional. Um.
Excuse the emotional. I’ve had a lot of coke and I’ve had a lot to drink and and as I’ve always said I don’t think that changes your perspective I think it’s an enabler.
I don’t think you should do this.
I I I I don’t think that there’s anything for you to worry about.
In many ways we’re not even having a relationship because we’ve barely seen each other, not really, and we just talk…
And OK, I’ve probably been a little bit intense but that’s cos I felt you slipping away. And its frustrating for me because you’re not slipping away because you don’t like me. You’re slipping away cos you’re scared of me. And you don’t have to be scared of me because I’d never hurt you. I’d never hurt you.
I think you’re amazing, and I know, really, that you think I’m amazing. You’re a fucking shit, and I wanna bash you sometimes.
Um. But. You know..
I feel like in a really real way, that what we’ve got is really special.
And I don’t wanna lose it. You know?
And maybe we have to redefine it. And maybe we have to go back a few stages. And maybe we have to simplify things a little bit and be a little bit more you know realistic like about what we can and can’t achieve given the the spaces that we exist in, but I don’t think we should give up on it because, I dunno, we met…
so… randomly… where we could have met someone else… and it was just supposed to be a fuck, and we connected right? I mean I haven’t made that up, I really don’t feel like I’ve made that up and I really feel that you feel it as well. Like, we’ve more than impacted on one another.
And oh the drunk dial is never a fucken good move and I’m gonna regret this tomorrow. And I dunno what you’re gonna do, you’re either gonna run to the fucking hills. Cos this has just made everything a whole lot scarier. But I hope you don’t do that, I just hope you listen to it… maybe a couple of times and just know I have never ever wanted to make you feel restricted, I have never wanted to make you feel scared, I’ve never wanted to hold you down, I wanna be, I want you to be the best man you can be and I wanna support that and… all I want is for us to grow to love one another and be happy together and… find a way to make this work and I know that seems hard but… it doesn’t have to… um… and I’ve never really, I don’t think I ever really said what I expected or.. I mean maybe I have too much, I’m just a fucken nag sometimes and I don’t mean it, but… I just want us to work. I ju…I feel like I can really make you happy. I feel like if you just let go, if you just stop being scared, you can make me happy, you can help me make you happy… just… I dunno…
Don’t do it.
Don’t just shut me out because you’re scared of it, like if you’re just not interested and this is all a line then fine, like, that’s fine. Like you’re not interested I can handle that but don’t, don’t shut me out cos you are, and don’t shut me out cos you’re scared cos you’ve got nothing to be scared of. Of any boy that you’ll ever meet in the entire world in your fucken entire life you are in the safest hands with me, I will do nothing. Nothing. To hurt you. Nothing.
So there you go, you just have a stupid, drunk, little coked up boy who fucken cares for you like crazy, um and more than that is. Just. Crushed. Because the thought of not speaking to you and not seeing you. Is awful. It’s just fucken awful.
And going back to my earlier point, the thing that I have always measured all of this by is the ‘miss you’ factor and I miss you so much every fucking day.
So, there you have it, me, making a complete twat of myself on a street in London, so I dunno, do with it what you will..
um, uh,oh god, I dunno
Do with it what you will, just don’t chuck it away for nothing.
I genuinely feel we are worth more than that.
So that was me, calmly and a little bit drunkly, trying to fight for this.
And um, I’m not gonna do that again, I’m really not.
I can’t… so…um…speak to you later.
In Pictures: My Favourite Filmmakers…
(…and the films that made me take notice)
By Samuel Beckett
Written in English in spring 1972. First performed at the Forum Theater of the Lincoln Center, New York, in September 1972. First published by Faber and Faber, London, in 1973.
First performed in Britain at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on 16 January 1973.
Movement: this consists in simple sideways raising of arms from sides and their falling back, in a gesture of helpless compassion. It lessens with each recurrence till scarcely perceptible at third. There is just enough pause to contain it as MOUTH recovers from vehement refusal to relinquish third person.
Stage in darkness but for MOUTH, upstage audience right, about 8 feet above stage level, faintly lit from close-up and below, rest of face in shadow. Invisible microphone.
AUDITOR, downstage audience left, tall standing figure, sex undeterminable, enveloped from head to foot in loose black djellaba, with hood, fully faintly lit, standing on invisible podium about 4 feet high shown by attitude alone to be facing diagonally across stage intent on MOUTH, dead still throughout but for four brief movements where indicated. See Note.
As house lights down MOUTH`S voice unintelligible behind curtain. House lights out. Voice continues unintelligible behind curtain, l0 seconds. With rise of curtain ad-libbing from text as required leading when curtain fully up and attention sufficient into:
MOUTH: . . . . out . . . into this world . . . this world . . . tiny little thing . . . before its time . . . in a godfor– . . . what? . . girl? . . yes . . . tiny little girl . . . into this . . . out into this . . . before her time . . . godforsaken hole called . . . called . . . no matter . . . parents unknown . . . unheard of . . . he having vanished . . . thin air . . . no sooner buttoned up his breeches . . . she similarly . . . eight months later . . . almost to the tick . . . so no love . . . spared that . . . no love such as normally vented on the . . . speechless infant . . . in the home . . . no . . . nor indeed for that matter any of any kind . . . no love of any kind . . . at any subsequent stage . . . so typical affair . . . nothing of any note till coming up to sixty when– . . . what? . . seventy?. . good God! . . coming up to seventy . . . wandering in a field . . . looking aimlessly for cowslips . . . to make a ball . . . a few steps then stop . . . stare into space . . . then on . . . a few more . . . stop and stare again . . . so on . . . drifting around . . . when suddenly . . . gradually . . . all went out . . . all that early April morning light . . . and she found herself in the–– . . . what? . . who? . . no! . . she! . . [Pause and movement 1.] . . . found herself in the dark . . . and if not exactly . . . insentient . . . insentient . . . for she could still hear the buzzing . . . so-called . . . in the ears . . . and a ray of light came and went . . . came and went . . . such as the moon might cast . . . drifting . . . in and out of cloud . . . but so dulled . . . feeling . . . feeling so dulled . . . she did not know . . . what position she was in . . . imagine! . . what position she was in! . . whether standing . . . or sitting . . . but the brain– . . . what?. . kneeling? . . yes . . . whether standing . . . or sitting . . . or kneeling . . . but the brain– . . . what? . . lying? . . yes . . whether standing . . . or sitting . . . or kneeling . . . or lying . . . but the brain still . . . still . . . in a way . . . for her first thought was . . . oh long after . . . sudden flash . . . brought up as she had been to believe . . . with the other waifs . . . in a merciful . . . [Brief laugh.] . . . God . . . [Good laugh.] . . . first thought was . . . oh long after . . . sudden flash . . . she was being punished . . . for her sins . . . a number of which then . . . further proof if proof were needed . . . flashed through her mind . . . one after another . . . then dismissed as foolish . . . oh long after . . . this thought dismissed . . . as she suddenly realized . . . gradually realized . . . she was not suffering . . . imagine! . . not suffering! . . indeed could not remember . . . off-hand . . . when she had suffered less . . . unless of course she was . . . meant to be suffering . . . ha! . . thought to be suffering . . . just as the odd time . . . in her life . . . when clearly intended to be having pleasure . . . she was in fact . . . having none . . . not the slightest . . . in which case of course . . . that notion of punishment . . . for some sin or other . . . or for the lot . . . or no particular reason . . . for its own sake . . . thing she understood perfectly . . . that notion of punishment . . . which had first occurred to her . . . brought up as she had been to believe . . . with the other waifs . . . in a merciful . . . [Brief laugh.] . . . God . . . [Good laugh.] . . . first occurred to her . . . then dismissed . . . as foolish . . . was perhaps not so foolish . . . after all . . . so on . . . all that . . . vain reasonings . . . till another thought . . . oh long after . . . sudden flash . . . . . very foolish really but– . . . what? . . the buzzing? . . yes . . . all the time buzzing . . . so-called . . . in the ears . . . though of course actually . . . not in the ears at all . . . in the skull . . . dull roar in the skull . . . and all the time this ray or beam . . . like moonbeam . . . but probably not . . . certainly not . . . always the same spot . . . now bright . . . now shrouded . . . but always the same spot . . . as no moon could . . . no . . . no moon . . . just all part of the same wish to . . . torment . . . though actually in point of fact . . . not in the least . . . not a twinge . . . so far . . . ha! . . so far . . . this other thought then . . . oh long after . . . sudden flash . . . very foolish really but so like her . . . in a way . . . that she might do well to . . . groan . . . on and off . . . writhe she could not . . . as if in actual agony . . . but could not . . . could not bring herself . . . some flaw in her make-up . . . incapable of deceit . . . or the machine . . . more likely the machine . . . so disconnected . . . never got the message . . . or powerless to respond . . . like numbed . . . couldn’t make the sound . . . not any sound . . . no sound of any kind . . . no screaming for help for example . . . should she feel so inclined . . . scream . . . [Screams.] . . . then listen . . . [Silence.] . . . scream again . . . [Screams again.] . . . then listen again . . . [Silence.] . . . no . . . spared that . . . all silent as the grave . . . no part–. . . what? . . the buzzing? . . yes . . . all silent but for the buzzing . . . so-called . . . no part of her moving . . . that she could feel . . . just the eyelids . . . presumably . . . on and off . . . shut out the light . . . reflex they call it . . . no feeling of any kind . . . but the lids . . . even best of times . . . who feels them? . . opening . . . shutting . . . all that moisture . . .but the brain still . . . still sufficiently . . . oh very much so! . . at this stage . . . in control . . . under control . . . to question even this . . . for on that April morning . . . so it reasoned . . . that April morning . . . she fixing with her eye . . . a distant bell . . . as she hastened towards it . . . fixing it with her eye . . . lest it elude her . . . had not all gone out . . . all that light . . . of itself . . . without any . . . any. . . on her part . . . so on . . . so on it reasoned . . . vain questionings . . . and all dead still . . . sweet silent as the grave . . . when suddenly . . . gradually . . . she realiz–. . . what? . . the buzzing? . . yes . . . all dead still but for the buzzing . . . when suddenly she realized . . . words were– . . . what? . . who?. . no! . . she! . . [Pause and movement 2.] . . . realized . . . words were coming . . . imagine! . . . words were coming . . . a voice she did not recognize at first so long since it had sounded . . . then finally had to admit . . . could be none other . . . than her own . . . certain vowel sounds . . . she had never heard . . . elsewhere . . . so that people would stare . . . the rare occasions . . . once or twice a year . . . always winter some strange reason . . . stare at her uncom-prehending . . . and now this stream . . . steady stream . . . she who had never . . . on the contrary . . . practically speechless . . . all her days . . . how she survived! . . even shopping . . . out shopping . . . busy shopping centre . . . supermart . . . just hand in the list . . . with the bag . . . old black shopping bag . . . then stand there waiting . . . any length of time . . . middle of the throng . . . motionless . . . staring into space . . . mouth half open as usual . . . till it
was back in her hand . . . the bag back in her hand . . . then pay and go . . . not as much as good-bye . . . how she survived! . . and now this stream . . . not catching the half of it . . . not the quarter . . . no idea . . . what she was saying . . . imagine! . . no idea what she was saying! . . till she began trying to . . . delude herself . . . it was not hers at all . . . not her voice at all . . . and no doubt would have . . . vital she should . . . was on the point . . . after long efforts . . . when suddenly she felt . . . gradually she felt . . . her lips moving . . . imagine! . . her lips moving! . . as of course till then she had not . . . and not alone the lips . . . the cheeks . . . the jaws . . . the whole face . . . all those– . . what?. . the tongue? . . yes . . . the tongue in the mouth . . . all those contortions without which . . . no speech possible . . . and yet in the ordinary way . . . not felt at all . . . so intent one is . . . on what one is saying . . . the whole being . . . hanging on its words . . . so that not only she had . . . had she . . . not only had she . . . to give up . . . admit hers alone . . . her voice alone . . . but this other awful thought . . . oh long after . . . sudden flash . . . even more awful if possible . . . that feeling was coming back . . . imagine! . . feeling coming back! . . starting at the top . . . then working down . . . the whole machine . . . but no . . . spared that . . . the mouth alone . . . so far . . . ha! . . so far . . . then thinking . . . oh long after . . . sudden flash . . . it can’t go on . . . all this . . . all that . . . steady stream . . . straining to hear . . . make some-thing of it . . . and her own thoughts . . . make something of them . . . all– . . . what? . . the buzzing? . . yes . . . all the time the buzzing . . . so-called . . . all that together . . . imagine! . . whole body like gone . . . just the mouth . . . lips . . . cheeks . . . jaws . . . never– . . . what?. . tongue? . . yes . . . lips. . . cheeks . . . jaws . . . tongue . . . never still a second . . . mouth on fire . . . stream of words . . . in her ear . . . practically in her ear . . . not catching the half . . . not the quarter . . . no idea what she’s saying . . . imagine! . . no idea what she’s saying! . . and can’t stop . . . no stopping it . . . she who but a moment before . . . but a moment! . . could not make a sound . . . no sound of any kind . . . now can’t stop . . . imagine! . . can’t stop the stream . . . and the whole brain begging . . . something begging in the brain . . . begging the mouth to stop . . . pause a moment . . . if only for a moment . . . and no response . . . as if it hadn’t heard . . . or couldn’t . . . couldn’t pause a second . . . like maddened . . . all that together . . . straining to hear . . . piece it together . . . and the brain . . . raving away on its own . . . trying to make sense of it . . . or make it stop . . . or in the past . . . dragging up the past . . . flashes from all over . . . walks mostly . . . walking all her days . . . day after day . . . a few steps then stop . . . stare into space . . . then on . . . a few more . . . stop and stare again . . . so on . . . drifting around . . . day after day . . . or that time she cried . . . the one time she could remember . . . since she was a baby . . . must have cried as a baby . . . perhaps not . . . not essential to life . . . just the birth cry to get her going . . . breathing . . . then no more till this . . . old hag already . . . sitting staring at her hand . . . where was it? . . Croker’s Acres . . . one evening on the way home . . . home! . . a little mound in Croker’s Acres . . . dusk . . . sitting staring at her hand . . . there in her lap . . . palm upward . . . suddenly saw it wet . . . the palm . . . tears presumably . . . hers presumably . . . no one else for miles . . . no sound . . . just the tears . . . sat and watched them dry . . . all over in a second . . . or grabbing at straw . . . the brain . . . flickering away on its own . . . quick grab and on. . . nothing there . . . on to the next . . . bad as the voice . . . worse . . . as little sense . . . all that together . . . can’t– . . . what? . . the buzzing? . . yes . . . all the time the buzzing . . . dull roar like falls . . . and the beam . . . flickering on and off . . . starting to move around . . . like moonbeam but not . . . all part of the same . . . keep an eye on that too . . . corner of the eye . . . all that together . . . can’t go on . . . God is love . . . she’ll be purged . . . back in the field . . . morning sun . . . April . . . sink face down in the grass . . . nothing but the larks . . . so on . . . grabbing at the straw . . . straining to hear . . . the odd word . . . make some sense of it . . . whole body like gone . . . just the mouth . . . like maddened . . . and can’t stop . . . no stopping it . . . something she– . . . something she had to– . . . what? . . who? . . no! . . she! . . [Pause and movement 3.] . . . something she had to–. . . what? . . the buzzing? . . yes . . . all the time the buzzing . . . dull roar . . . in the skull . . . and the beam . . . ferreting around . . . painless . . . so far . . . ha! . . so far . . . then thinking . . . oh long after . . . sudden flash . . . perhaps something she had to . . . had to . . . tell . . . could that be it? . . something she had to . . . tell . . . tiny little thing . . . before its time . . . godforsaken hole . . . no love . . . spared that . . . speechless all her days . . . practically speechless . . . how she survived! . . that time in court . . . what had she to say for herself . . . guilty or not guilty . . . stand up woman . . . speak up woman . . . stood there staring into space . . . mouth half open as usual . . . waiting to be led away . . . glad of the hand on her arm . . . now this . . . some-thing she had to tell . . . could that be it? . . something that would tell . . . how it was . . . how she– . . . what? . . had been? . . yes . . . something that would tell how it had been . . . how she had lived . . . lived on and on . . . guilty or not . . . on and on . . . to be sixty . . . something she– . . . what? . . seventy? . . good God! . . on and on to be seventy . . . something she didn’t know herself . . . wouldn’t know if she heard . . . then forgiven . . . God is love . . . tender mercies . . . new every morning . . . back in the field . . . April morning . . . face in the grass . . . nothing but the larks . . . pick it up there . . . get on with it from there . . . another few– . . . what? . . not that? . . nothing to do with that? . . nothing she could tell? . . all right . . . nothing she could tell . . . try something else . . . think of something else . . . oh long after . . . sudden flash . . . not that either . . . all right . . . something else again . . . so on . . . hit on it in the end . . . think everything keep on long enough . . . then forgiven . . . back in the– . . . what? . . not that either? . . nothing to do with that either? . . nothing she could think? . . all right . . . nothing she could tell . . . nothing she could think . . . nothing she– . . what? . . who? . . no! . . she! . . [Pause and movement 4.] . . . tiny little thing . . . out before its time . . . godforsaken hole . . . no love . . . spared that . . . speechless all her days . . . practically speechless . . . even to herself . . . never out loud . . . but not completely . . . sometimes sudden urge . . . once or twice a year . . . always winter some strange reason . . . the long evenings . . . hours of darkness . . . sudden urge to . . . tell . . . then rush out stop the first she saw . . . nearest lavatory . . . start pouring it out . . . steady stream . . . mad stuff . . . half the vowels wrong . . . no one could follow . . . till she saw the stare she was getting . . . then die of shame . . . crawl back in . . . once or twice a year . . . always winter some strange reason . . . long hours of darkness . . . now this . . . this . . . quicker and quicker . . . the words . . . the brain . . . flickering away like mad . . . quick grab and on . . . nothing there . . . on somewhere else . . . try somewhere else . . . all the time something begging . . . something in her begging . . . begging it all to stop . . . unanswered . . . prayer unanswered . . . or unheard . . . too faint . . . so on . . . keep on . . . trying . . . not knowing what . . . what she was trying . . . what to try . . . whole body like gone . . . just the mouth . . . like maddened . . . so on . . . keep– . . . what? . . the buzzing? . . yes . . . all the time the buzzing . . . dull roar like falls . . . in the skull . . . and the beam . . . poking around . . . painless . . . so far . . . ha! . . so far . . . all that . . . keep on . . . not knowing what . . . what she was– . . . what? . . who? . . no! . . she! . . SHE! . . [Pause.] . . . what she was trying . . . what to try . . . no matter . . . keep on . . . [Curtain starts down.] . . . hit on it in the end . . . then back . . . God is love . . . tender mercies . . . new every morning . . . back in the field . . . April morning . . . face in the grass . . . nothing but the larks . . . pick it up–
[Curtain fully down. House dark. Voice continues behind curtain, unintelligible, 10 seconds, ceases as house lights up.]
Meet the actors and actresses that I fell in love with.
I guess these are the young rebels, kind of the third generation of Hollywood greats – of course there’s lots of cross over but maybe roughly:
- 1st Generation – the Silent Stars – Ivor Novello, Clara Bow, Charlie Chaplin, Louise Brooks, Mercedes Da Acosta etc.
- 2nd Generation – the Golden Greats – Joan Crawford, Vivien Leigh, Bette Davis, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Katharine Hepburn etc
- 3rd Generation – and my favourites: (l-r) Marlon Brando, Sophia Loren, Faye Dunaway, Audrey Hepburn, Rock Hudson, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Munroe, Paul Newman, Ursula Andress, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson again, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Steve McQueen, Montgomery Clift, Tony Curtis, James Dean, Grace Kelly, Jean Seberg, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Dennis Hopper, Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner.
I’m named after Steve McQueen and Elvis Presley, and I think all my favourite Hollywood films are from this generation of 50’s and 60’s cinema – so maybe that’s why. Kind of. But I think also, this is when Hollywood got sexy again, sexy in a way we hadn’t seen since the pre-code days. And I think maybe socially, it came alongside the invention of the teenager – especially the teen rebel. James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo in particular standing out there. The new breed of Femme Fatale came shooting out of the 40’s, and damn she was sexy – The Killers, I think, is one of the sexiest film noirs and Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner just sizzle – ok, it is a 40’s film, but damn it was hot, and maybe it kind of set the scene for what was to come in just a few years. So I think I’m allowed to include it. As I say, there’s crossover – but what we have is a shock. The World had stared the worst and scariest fascism we’d probably seen for in ever, and whilst our Grandparents were building their vision of what a world without fascism, a world with care and equality should look like – their arty and sexy little brothers and sisters started to rebel in art and music and cinema. And I don’t know, I’m no historian but maybe this is when youth started to be really celebrated. We’d seen the past and it was scary, Hollywood stopped being an escape from fiscal depression and social horror, instead becoming a reflection, much like it was in the 20’s, of a rebellious youth full of sass who would turn things on its head. And that rebellious youth was celebrated. And the escapism, I guess, was the freedom to be sexy. And I’m not sure we’ve seen it in such an organic way in mainstream film since – it’s not until 90’s American Indy cinema, the Greg Araki’s and the Gus Van Sant’s that we see this same kind of ‘sexy’, this same kind of celebration of rebellious youth. And I think that’s why I love these stars, because each one of those pictures, each one of those actors is sexy, is beautiful, and cool, and rebellious – there’s attitude – which I think is maybe what Hollywood, definitely what film should be all about.
Shirkers Vs. Strivers
This new sudden idea of shirkers and strivers, on initial knee jerk, for me, is a disgusting way to look at a society… on further reflection my question to anyone actually trying to use this argument is a simple one, are you are an idiot? Are you so stupid that you can only manage to break things down into this offensively simplistic argument, its black and white is it? It’s this or that? No questions asked, why should I pay taxes for you, when you don’t work? Is that it? Cos I work and pay taxes I am a striver and cos you don’t, you’re a shirker? Beyond all else, it’s the most disgusting kind of cynical manipulation that I have ever seen or known from any government and it saddens me that this is a government that we voted on (kind of – I know it was a bit split there for a while – but still… ) I mean, shirker or striver? So after working full time since I was 22 if I suddenly found myself unemployed and on benefits I’d be a shirker would I, no of course not, but what if I refused the shit pay delivery job or whatever because it might damage my cv and prospects in the long term, what if I kept holding out for that really awesome opportunity that I have worked so hard for? I mean surely the reason I was encouraged to take out loans etc for my schmantzy post-graduate education was so I could get myself into the super good job pool right? – so am I a shirker or a striver if I strive to only be employed in that pool and refuse everything else…. ? What if I got some kind of disease or got into an accident so needed benefits cos I actually can’t work so I get fired… I wouldn’t be a shirker then would I? I mean is that acceptable shirkerism perhaps? Where is the line? OK, what if I got so depressed by the whole thing that once I got physically better, from that illness or disease but found myself so full of self loathing that I couldn’t actually move because maybe, just maybe my borderline shirkerism had made me realize that really I’m just a working class piece of shit and as I am effectively just a waste of space now I am physically unable to get a job? Am I a shirker then, cos mental health isn’t a real issue right? Anyway I probably can’t get a job because on top of everything we’re about to fall into a triple dip recession because shit got cut too fast too hard and now everyone is too scared to take a risk on a slightly bonkers arty kid like me, right? So, am I a shirker then? For being the person who missed out on the job, or this other job – which I didn’t get either cos of whatever reason – I mean, how do I not be a shirker?
The thing about labels, any label is that it just job-lumps a bunch of stuff together, no thought, really simple baseline shit, I mean I thought we spent like the last century trying to fight negative labels – remember retard? Queer? Yid? Gypo? Paki? Bird? I mean, when you look at it, what’s the difference? Are we now allowed to use offensive labels as long as the government sanctions them? Woooooooo! So if Cameron says it’s ok you can come up and call me a queer yid wog cos I’m a gay, Jewish guy with Greek heritage? WHAT THE FUCK?? I mean, I dare you, but what the fuck???? The thing about this particular label, is it creates a class divide, it keeps low income families low – you’re a shirker you are, you grew up on a council estate, you don’t have a job, your parents never worked so you’re a waste of space – you got pregnant by some loser who then went and dumped you on your own in a strange city with baby twins – that’s the mentality, why would someone like you get into this school, why should we give your type a job – you lot, you’re just shirkers and I work really hard and I don’t get council tax rebates and milk tokens and sky tv or whatever it is you shirkers get…see the problem with this one is it doesn’t require you to ask questions, it uses language that instantly gets your back up as a decent hard working striver, it makes you feel outrage, it manipulates you into thinking that you are losing out, that you personally are being taken advantage of. Thing is, you are. But not by the shirker. Furthermore, as a writer, actually scrub that, as a user of the English language the alliteration is just plain offensive. Oi PR-prick, you deign to pretty up one of the ugliest terms I have ever come across by making it soft and sibilant, you evil con-dem dickhead cunt. You think it somehow makes it palatable, artistic? Clever? You, whoever you are, should be ashamed. We have got to stop this attack on our society, our grandparents created the welfare state to look after us should we need it. They decided that their post-war vision of the future included a government that supported its people when it needed them, of course in any system their will be some kind of failing and abuse, so surely the correct thing to do, to save money, to save the system, that wide reaching fundamentally good framework of support that as a nation we should be proud of – is to isolate those failings, minimise that pretty low level of abuse (that lets face it, in comparison to some other major industry abuses and failings that we’ve seen of late is positively small fry) and tighten it up, and iron out the shit – not break it up, sell it off and hack away at it. We’re being manipulated by the most cynical of editorials, we’re letting Cameron et al kick our Grannies and Granddads in the face… some of us are even joining in – reading the papers today didn’t just fill me with my usual soft lefty rage, it made me feel really sad.
I love L.A. especially Blade Runner L.A.
Just Be: Paloma Faith
Velvet Elvis: Alex Winston
Skylines: My Inner Monster
I have never really considered my inner monster. Or any actual monster.
In fairness, before a couple of months ago, I’d never really thought about writing for young people.
I certainly didn’t think I’d have to be bouncing around the room so early in the morning.
But nonetheless I find myself in a studio, deep within a drama school, in Central northish London, throwing some serious shapes as the love child of the Giant from Jack and the Beanstalk and the Witch from Hansel and Gretal. And it turns out I want my harp back.
We’re about a third of the way through our first workshop. We have present – five writers, a lad on his gap year thinking about becoming a writer, the literary manager from a well-established London New Writing Theatre, a playwright and a member of the Skylines/Drama Centre team, we’ve been throwing socks, learning names, running about a bit, annoyed at fire alarms and now we’re channelling monsters. In about 5 minutes, brains and bodies distracted, there’s gonna be a free-style exercise. Monster channelled, what does he have to say –
As we go around the room and read out our bits, I find we have cute monsters, tiny monsters, lonely monsters, ugly monsters and ‘maybe a bit too scary for a 4-year old’ monsters. But it’s all ok…
On to some drawing, onto some story-telling, onto some tweaking of the 3-act structure to keep kids in their seats for 45 minutes…
And then before you know it – time…
And it’s always the way – after losing yourself into your imagination, probably being a little more free in your writing than you have been in like an age – because suddenly there are no limits, because suddenly you’re channelling not only that monster, but that big kid inside you that would have loved loved loved playing with said monster twenty-odd-shush years ago – the session ends… The only thing that we can’t channel this morning is that feeling of time when you’re a kid. How a day would go on for like a week and a summer would go on forever. Because right, a little bit longer spent doing this – a bit of really focussed imaginative writing (not to mention bouncing round the room like a nutter) would have been the perfect way to spend the rest of the day.
Only a week until the next one though-
And on. Anon.
I shouldn’t have put on the cap. But. The thing I hate most, is the hairline. I can carry it off and shit. I’m still considered kinda vaguely maybe cute, can scrub up to like an 8. OK. Like 7.5. Good cheeks see, interesting smile, dark eyes, said you always liked my lips – but that inevitable creep back is slightly heartbreaking.
You’re beautiful. Fuck. Older. Yeah. Rugged, even. But that something, that…you– is still there. Eyes. Smile. Beautiful. Captivating.
You go to shake my hand. I awkwardly go in to hug you. We kind of collide.
It’s funny the effort we’ve made. You’ve gone smart. Fitted shirt hugs, shoulders, arms… Slim fit jeans hug-
You’re a man now. Serious. Not the boy I knew. A man. I’ve gone the opposite way. Casual. Shorts. The cap. Partly cos it looks better, partly to contain my head. Inside. Coffee and water. Casual catching up. Skimming the surface. Coy smiles hidden furtive glances. You’re eyes still that blue green. Your floppy brown hair now shaved close. Greying.
Talking, laughing, drinking. Stop.
You remind me of a moment, ten years before-a club. You’re fucked. Giving it cocky. I made a mistake…apparently. Look what I could have had. You said. I didn’t give a fuck at the time. I was hot, sober, younger.
If only I’d been braver.
I remember this bloke. Nick. We fucked before you and I did. It didn’t go anywhere cos he was too scared to come out.
You and I didn’t go anywhere cos I was too scared… and I want to tell you I’m brave now. And that you’ve never been more beautiful.
Later. A bar. Almost laying out legs touch. Once, twice, then they stay there. Head on shoulder. Hands animated. Smiles. Laughs. Fuck, you’re great. Films, music, remember that band? That time-? Remember when we kissed at New Years Eve… promised we’d never stop being in love?
Remember how I left you completely broken-hearted outside that bar? Not even a reason. Just because.
You need the loo too much and its obvious your texting. Another guy? A girl? Things change.
It’s cool though. We both have someone else waiting.
Back, smile, drink? Yeah-
Let’s go to Iceland.
Yeah, lets do it
But we both know that will never happen.
Later. You walk me to my car. An embrace. We both want to kiss. But we’re more scared than we’ll admit. I can tell there’s something you want to tell me.
But you don’t need too. Nor do I.
I get home. I google reuniting with your first love. Apparently in this digital age it’s pretty common place and like 65% of the happiest marriages are between couples who split up in their late teens and reunite sometime in their thirties. OK we’re a few years off that yet but it makes it a little more exciting.
I’m prone to over romanticized nostalgia-
But what if it was you all along?
I text you goodnight. Great to catch up. Again sometime?
But I never hear back.
You left for Libya the next day.
If I’m honest I forgot all about you. For all those years. I locked you away.
Now you’ve come bursting out of my memory, my subconscious, my heart.
Now I just can’t stop thinking about you.
Let’s Have a Kiki
My short play, The Stranger (previously titled – The Biggest Tarantino Fan in the World) is to be published as part of this years Stratford-Upon-Avon Festival.
The play was originally performed in New York, as part of Perchance To Dream Theatre’s first 24 Hour Play Festival in July 2011.
I wrote the play in 12 hours, it was performed for the first time, 12 hours later.
The original production was directed by Benjamin Ehrenreich, featured Tim Dowd and was produced by Emma Schimminger and Elizabeth Dapo.
You can read it here. (Scroll down).
I fucken love Gregg Araki. He’s my film ‘Pinter’. I remember reading Dumb Waiter, then Zoo Story by Albee, then Happy Days by Beckett and then The Maids by Genet. They are the four plays I read at 16 that made me want to be a playwright. I saw Totally Fucked Up a couple of years later, then Lost Highway by Mr Lynch then Sitcom by Francois Ozon, then The Flower of My Secret by Pedro Almodovar, then My Own Private Idaho by Gus Van Sant, then Edward II by Derek Jarman and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover by Peter Greenaway – they are the films that made me want to be a filmmaker…
I went in to Birmingham for the first time on my own when I was 14. It was the nearest city, and I could catch the bus in about an hour, from like right outside of my house. Brum had theatres and teeny cinemas and record shops….(Stourbridge actually had a pretty good music scene in the mid-90’s (not like the bollocks it is now) so I shouldn’t pretend there was no culture) but for theatre and film… I had to get away! Back to shiny Brum, and I snuck into a film at the Electric Cinema, I think it was Spanking the Monkey – anyway my love of Indy Cinema was born. I got Totally Fucked Up from the local video store that night. Then pretty much lapped it up. Reading plays on the bus to school, watching Indy Cinema through headphones in my room at night. Fucking hell, the world opened up. Just, literally, well… kaboom…
Fast forward and I still totally fucken love Araki. I essentially love colourful mad shit about young people fucking and fucking up against a good sound track, in cool clothes in a slightly left schewed kind of way. That sounds trite but it’s always had an appeal. I think, growing up in working class grey Midland hell made me want to escape into the rich, weird medley that is middle-American/Spanish/French suburbia…
He knows his shit too -whilst talking about his first film, he said:
I think first-time filmmakers should make a film when they’re ready to make a film and when they have a film that they’re dying to make. I think the worst reason to make a film is just to go out and make one — or because you want to go to Sundance, or you want to be like Quentin Tarantino. The reason to make a film is because you have a story you want to tell, you have something you really, really want to say.
And that to me is what was so striking about “Three Bewildered People in the Night,” that it came from a place of almost desperation. I was just so desperate to make this movie. This was way back in the old days of indie filmmaking. The whole movie cost like five grand. I kind of financed it out of my own pocket. It’s really a trip to watch it, like a time machine for me — going back to what my life was like when I made that movie. It takes me back to a much more naive and innocent time. The movie is really cool in that way.
I find people’s first films so fascinating. For instance, Gus Van Sant’s “Mala Noche” or Rick Linklater’s super-8 feature that he made before “Slacker” are really interesting to watch because there is so much in that first film, so much of the director’s passion and sheer will to get it made. And I think that that’s so important for a first-time filmmaker.
I’ve been fucking around with shorts for a bit, and done kinda ok, won an award here, fucked up in the colour grade there etc – and of course I’ll always love the theatre, it’s my first home, my actual home – but I’m nearly there on jumping up to make my first film, it’s been a long time coming… but in a way, so has this entire journey, I think that’s pretty much cos I’m doing this all for me, so I’m in no hurry, cos I want to get it right… but essentially, what I think I’m saying, what I am saying – Araki, Kaboom, Pedro, Davey, all you guys… making this phenomenal shit… it’s been exciting for me to watch you and learn blah etc… but it’s time to heed the statement methinks… generally in my process I think of a story, a character, and a line, or an image… whatever, and then I sit on it, let it grow, fester until it takes over and refuses to stay in my head any longer… ok, that sounds trite too, but… you know what, fuck this blogging, I’ve got shit to write…
Oh fuckety, and my original point was about Juno Temple and Thomas Dekker, she’s fucken awesome and he’s fucken hot– it was gonna be longer, and then a list or something… but I need to write. Right now…
Young Writers Festival
My 100 word play, Line, is on display at the Royal Court. As part of this years Young Writers Festival the court have been inviting 100 word submissions.
You can read it here.
This is what a terrible film looks like.
I don’t belong here…
I like the end:
A list of things happening in my head:
9 January – Coal miners begin a strike which lasts for seven weeks,including picketing of Saltley coke depot in Birmingham.
9 February – State of emergency declared as a result of the miners’ strike.
31 March – A CND demonstration is held against the nuclear base at Aldermaston.
30th April – The Brighton Belle Pullman car train makes its last journey from London to Brighton
30th June – Roxy Music Play Wembley
1 July – The first official gay pride march in London is held (Saturday)
Hot Love – T:Rex
Virginia Plain – Roxy Music
Rocket Man- Elton John
Starman – David Bowie
Other stuff around Late June/Early July:
June 23 – Watergate Scandal: U.S. President Richard M. Nixon and White House chief of staff H. R. Haldeman are taped talking about using the C.I.A. to obstruct the F.B.I.’s investigation into the Watergate break-ins.
June 28 – U.S. President Richard Nixon announces that no new draftees will be sent to Vietnam.
June 30 – An extra leap second (23:59:60) is added to end the month.
July 1 – The Canadian ketch Vega, flying the Greenpeace III banner, collides with the French naval minesweeper La Paimpolaise while in international waters, to protest French nuclear weapon tests in the South Pacific.
July 2 – Following Pakistan’s surrender to India in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, both nations sign the historic Simla Agreement, agreeing to settle their disputes bilaterally.
July 2 – Death of Joseph Fielding Smith, 10th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
July 4 – The first Rainbow Gathering is held in Colorado.
With all the style and glamour of the Hollywood Blonde Bombshell of days gone by, I frankly and truly believe she’s the most interesting, intelligent, exciting, and extraordinarily talented young actor out there. She blew me away in Shame. It was a great role played by Michael Fassbender and of course he deserve the awards and critical acclaim etc (and judging by the Q&A in Hackney last night, he’s a thoroughly nice and charming bloke too) – that Carey Mulligan stole every single scene from him, does by no means detract from his stellar performance, it does demonstrate that she absolutely fucking rocks as an actor. She’s tough and fragile and beautiful and kind of perplexing – magnetic, essentially lots of lovely adjectives. She’s fucking inspiring to little old writer stuck in his bedroom, trying to capture an element of something that feels vaguely magnificent. She really is the porcelain, that I’m writing about.
And I really, really want to work with her.
A Night Like This-
I keep listening to it, I can be really obsessive about music. Shit just goes over and over in my head, like really haunting me. All the time. I have to listen. Now. Again. Now. I’ve barely slept all week, but it’s been massively productive. I’m in the middle of deadline eeeeek, vaguely always in deadline eeek. A TV thing for a little indie, delivered, next a short film I’m working on to be delivered by next week, then Porcelain, my play for the Royal Court and of course Maiden Break, we’re currently doing recce’s around the UK with our producers at Lime Pictures. Plus we’re now looking at casting and gearing up for the spring production of Marina Abramovic is Staring at Me, although today I forgot one of the cast’s name, which is really naughty, and very not cool. NFTU has been taking up loads of time, but it’s looking good, is good, very good. You can check out what I’ve been up to there actually (hopefully if I can make the thingy work) by clicking here. I’m the Associate Editor for New Talent. I have a little play up in the theatre section to0. That’s here – if you fancy a read. But, fuck, this is what it’s all about yeah? Just writing, a bit of editing, enjoying shit… and music. It’s the one thing that I love but don’t do, so it’s pure, and an escape, and joyful and I think that’s why it’s so haunting…
These are the tracks I currently can’t escape:
I’ve also had two awesome film ideas I want to get down… and I might even think about acting again. I miss it a bit.
But first thing’s first. Sleep, then these ruddy deadlines!
It was this crazy stormy, foggy night. The drive there was a little scary, especially given my recent car crashing christmas capers. But we parked up and took a wander down to the beach. The fog was quite low, and the wind whipped all around. It wasn’t too cold, but it felt crazy, completely apocalyptic. I love the coast in Winter, almost prefer it, and I certainly love the scary crazy weather. The beach looked desolate, except for that one cabin light. Empty. Not at all like this surreal image that I captured. The stuff round the edge is obviously weird light glare, but the bit on the beach looks a bit more sci-fi…
We wandered on a little, but in the end the weather was too much, so we headed back. A nice dinner… and a happy new year-
ABSTRACT: SHOULD UNSIMULATED SEX IN DRAMA BE CONSIDERED PORN?
Psychoanalyst Andrezej Werbart questions whether everything can be depicted? When is the description of reality no longer ethical? Our initial research concluded that depictions of paedophilia and torture proved most problematic in theatre. Contextualising against a film industry where the Saw franchise grossed $736million worldwide and Tarantino is king, torture appears somewhat trouble-free. Graphic sex, however, is still considered taboo.
An abundance of films over the last decade including Shortbus, 9 Songs, Lie With Me, Baise Moi, Intimacy and Antichrist have provoked debate over depictions of unsimulated sex; disputing the boundaries of porn and art, titillation and narrative. Begging the question, is it porn?
Locating the ideas that emerge from articles, reviews and debates against Michel Foucault’s discussions on sexuality and power, Patricia McCormack’s ideas of cinemasochism, Lynn Holden & Werbart’s ideas of taboo and Alan Kirby’s argument on digimodernism; this poster aims to engage and challenge the viewer within the discussion. On a first glimpse it deliberately feels like a porn promo. Challenging you to say no… What is interesting is that all of the images are from mainstream films. They’ve passed the classifications board, and are not deemed in any way pornographic.
In her encyclopaedia of taboos, Holden asks what function taboo serves; Werbart argues taboo provides an ethical frame – frames which have always been the ambition of great art. Is it then acceptable to reflect an alleged ”truth” that is perhaps a truth even ”truer” than reality itself?
The film Shortbus was branded “pornographic”. Antichrist and Baise-Moi drew stronger reactions. Shortbus director, John Cameron Mitchell, argues the dictionary defines porn as “material created and viewed for the primary purpose of sexual arousal,” that the sex in his work is “de-eroticized” to reveal “emotions and ideas that might have been obscured by it”. Meanwhile, Alan Kirby claims that post-modernism has been replaced. That in digimodernism ‘one phones, clicks… surfs… its easy and trite. It’s shallow, and results from… instantaneous, direct, and superficial participation in culture…’ If, as Werbart remarks, Post-Modernism had the goal of breaking taboos and crossing boundaries; where does this new digimodernism leave us? In theatre we have playwrights breaking down the ‘4th wall’ of taboo and claiming they themselves are paedophiles and sex addicts – Tim Crouch in The Author for instance and Tim Fountain: Sex Addict (both sold out at the Royal Court) – is film also bringing the taboo closer by smashing down that line between fact and fiction?
Mitchell hopes Shortbus is an antidote to digimodernism ‘…these opportunities for connection, are at the same time opportunities to be bombarded into numbness… the YouTube, MySpace phenomenon is an example of people reaching out, desperate for intimacy.’ Von Trier meanwhile believes it is out of his hands. In the hands of God in fact – a god who may not be the best god in the world.
If the end of post-modernism took away the irony, and therefore advanced Foucault’s argument that nothing can be ‘untouchable’; if we move beyond the ‘porn politics’ of queer theory and feminism then fundamentally, sex represents ‘the quintessence’. I suggest it is thus only in the abjection of ‘the quintessence’ that we find true taboo – therefore in context of integrity, intention, action, metaphor and structure; sans the desire to shock, the use of unsimulated sex in narrative is entirely acceptable.
Which is surely as legitimate as the demand for gratification?
Tickets to my little film – 34 West 13th Street, NYC
Saturday, Nov 19, 2011 4:00 PM EST
Quad Cinema, New York, NY
I wish I had written this film:
I wish I had written this song:
I am a sad playwright:
The lovely 35mm short film that I co-directed and produced, RECOMPENSE, will be screened on Friday 25th November 2011 at 21.30 as part of the Looking Glass Programme of UnderWire Film Festival – the Cinematography programme sponsored by Kodak.
The screenings are taking place at Shortwave Cinema at 10 Bermondsey Square, London, SE1 3UN.
Terra Firma Theatre Company presents it’s first reading of the 2011-12 Boxcar Reading Series.
The first of the series is ‘Marina Abramovic is Staring at Me’ by Stephen Laughton.
The BoxCar Reading Series, presented in partnership with the Railroad Playhouse, is designed to showcase new plays from up-and-coming playwrights whose work inspires and challenges us with character driven stories, currently relevant themes, undertones, or backdrops that inspire connections between our artists and our world.
about the play
Set during Abramovic’s ‘The Artist is Present’ retrospective in NYC—Carl recounts a devastating relationship and wishes he could have done things differently…
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2011 7pm
Marina Abramovic is emailing me….
I was on the tube yesterday, my usual scrum across rush hour London – from the darkest East (although vaguely better in thanks to shiny Westfield, John Lewis and Waitrose) to the not so sunny west… Anyway, the tube always clears after Marble Arch, and after dropping my newspaper and staring into the distance for a bit, I look down and notice a little penny. Tales up. I’m instantly hit by three nearly conflicting thoughts; first up ‘find a penny pick it up’ starts ringing around my head, this is not quite replaced with ‘there’s a penny scene in my play, this could well be fortuitous’, which is bashed back down with ‘you can’t pick it up – the other tube people will think you’re poor – worse-superstitious’. I grapple for a bit, try to read the ‘Good Feed Deed’ to take my mind off it, find myself feeling nauseous with the ‘my boyfriend is so great’, the ‘thanks to the handsome stranger who…’ or the ‘I love my cat for purring’ bollocks. I look at the penny. Then away. Back at the penny. Read my horoscope. I pick up the penny. And I’m glad I did. Well maybe not initially, fast forward through the day job – slightly irritating day due to the odd moron or spoilt brat, but saved by my immediate buddies and the fact that I had my Royal Court group last night. Leo Butler is a fucking superstar; the man exudes this lovely energy of self-deprecation combined with wit/intelligence/cool and a whole lot of generosity and enthusiasm for ‘emerging’ writers like me. So, I promise myself I will be a good boy this week and keep my semi-obnoxious gob-shite opinions to myself a bit – of course that doen’t happen, and it’s not long before I’m going on about something – I just can’t help myself – I love a good old debate. There are some really bright and awesome and very talented sparring partners in the group, so luckily it’s cool. And it’s a good debate, and we all get to share a bit about the old approach to character development in a play. So, I really am getting to the Marina Abramovic bit. I get home, dinner has been made, fajitas! It’s a bit late though, but I’ve only had a sandwich all day and I’m a bit hungry. I’m still torn, been out the house since 0800 and it’s now pushing 2300. The decision to skip dinner is kinda made when my phone starts to ring. It just says the word- call. This can only mean one thing. America. I answer with my usually formal ‘hello Stephen speaking…’ when I’m not sure of the caller ID. I’m met by the lovely Stephanie Bratnick – she’s the artistic director of Terrra Firma. They’re the New York theatre company I’ve been working with on my play, Marina Abramovic is Staring at Me – if you’ve missed my constant updates, the play is launching their 2011/12 reading series in New York this Autumn, she asks me – have you seen my email? Did you email me? Yes, about ten minutes ago – she can hardly contain her excitement. Oh I only just got in, I offer up, I’ll go check it now… I can’t remember what exactly happened next, but I’m almost sure that her excitement/joy got the better of her and she blurted that Marina Abramovic had emailed us… I jump onto my laptop. And… Oh. My. God.
So, for context, the Terra Firma guys had a fundraiser in New York last Friday. Turns out a friend of a friend knows Marina Abramovic – Stephanie, and director Mike, email me and ask if I’d be up for writing to Marina and introducing me, us, our play. Fuck yeah. So I give it a whirl. I’m not my usual cocky self, I find that, due to the fact that I’m kinda terrified/in awe of this woman, I end up writing this really heartfelt letter about her influence, the effect seeing her at MoMA had on both me, and subsequently the play I wrote in response. Anyway, skip forward 24 hours and she only goes and replies. She’s really pleased to hear from me. She’s in Russia right now with ‘The Artist is Present’. Training 40 performance artists. It’s hard work. She’s back in New York mid-October. When am, I back? Let’s meet.
Holy fuck. Let’s meet.
In real time, Stephanie and I are both bouncing round the rooms we’re in, getting very excited about this meeting, and generally jumping about on either side of the pond like lunatics. Well, I definitely am, and I’m sure she is a little bit. It also turns out that they’re really digging this whole Marina ride at Terra Firma, and there are conversations to be had about a bigger space, a bigger production this Winter. I think we jump about and laugh for about ten more minutes, we haven’t even met yet and I have to say, already these guys are feeling like some of my oldest friends But it’s time for me to stop terrifying my cats, respond to Marina and also to tell everyone on Facebook how cool today got. Alexandra (company manager) emails in the meantime, she just heard the news, she’s at work, in the bathroom, wants to jump up and down herself… I leave the Terra Firma bunch, jump about on my own for maybe five more minutes and decide to continue my love affair with New York by watching the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother. It’s a good one – legen-wait for it-dary in fact. It’s nearly 1am, and I finally settle down and attempt sleep. It’s been a nuts day, yay. I’m about to doze off, but remember the penny is still in my pocket. I have to pass it on. I’m obviously a crazy superstitious person after all. But hey, it worked for me today. I jump up out of bed, find the penny in the back pocket of my jeans, head to the door and throw it out onto the street…. What’s thoroughly lovely is that when I leave for work this morning, I glance about, and much like the ‘lucky pennies’ in my little play… it’s gone. I can’t help but wonder what lovely doors it will open for someone today….
Oh today is a good day –
There’s a flyer… check out this lovely flyer…
(you can click on it and everything)
There’s a director… check out this lovely director…
(you can click on this picture too)
There’s even a game…check out this lovely game…
(and this one)
So, this is the image on my desktop. I love New York, I love dawn – it’s my favourite part of the day. I know it sounds slightly toss, but I think I think that if I look at New York every day, every time I’m at my computer, it’ll somehow remind me to keep my mind on the prize. I want to live and work here, you see. Maybe not forever, but I certainly want to give it a shot —
With that in mind, it’s then pretty awesome that my play – Marina Abramovic is Staring at Me is going to kick off Terra Firma’s BoxCar Reading Series in NYC this Autumn.It’s going to start upstate at the Railroad Playhouse on October 4th at 8pm before moving to The Cell in Chelsea, NYC. I’m working on an ‘American’ re-write this week.
I’ll be heading to New York myself in about a month. It’s gonna be a very cool trip, and hopefully I’ll get the odd meeting. The whole thing starts a suddenly massive Autumn as I’m also about to start my Studio Group attachment to the Royal Court Theatre. I get to write a play, under the guidance of the Mr Leo Butler, which hopefully the theatre will go on to develop and produce. There’s also a GenesisLab in the offing. Part of High Tide’s writer development programme, I’ll be spending some time with a bunch of actors and a director to workshop, and thus deliver a new version of ‘Marina’ – which will hopefully go on to the festival next year. This means there could be two very different versions of the same play doing the rounds – which is acceptable I guess, really…
It’s with some sadness that I have to admit, I’ve been Gaga’d. It’s actually pretty good to write to.
It’s also a bit embarrassing.
The most beautiful track I’ve heard in my entire life. I just love it – and think it’s sublime and inspiring and seven kinds of absolute awesome.
The ex-gay files: The bizarre world of gay-to straight conversion
Is homosexuality a form of mental illness? A small but evangelical band of psychotherapists believe that it is – and they’re on a mission to ‘heal’ the afflicted. Patrick Strudwick enters the bizarre world of gay-to-straight conversion
So this is a great picture taken by my friend Julia (http://www.myspace.com/highgateprince).
It’s an awesome picture and a great starting point.
It’s about 14.30 on a rainy Sunday afternoon, and a man is alone in his South London flat. The photograph s the view from his bedroom window. He wears PJ pants and a big woolly sweatshirt. He has brownish hair, wears glasses and is listening to ‘Above the Clouds’ by Paul Weller. He’s in his early thirties. His thoughts are interrupted by the door behind him opening. I want to know what he was thinking about, who opened the door and what they talk about?
What’s the mood? Where does it go? Do they fight? Make love? Are they late for something. Has someone else arrived?