It’s Showtime!

Showtime!Today is the opening show of the Writers Bloc Triple Special, putting on 10 minute plays and extracts from tonight (29th August) to the Saturday 31st. How exciting!

I have been directing my extract from Cuckoos and Chrysalids, which will be on two nights – Thursday and Friday. The cast has been superb and I’m really looking forward to getting the show on the road!

If you’re around Angel, why not come down to the Old Red Lion Theatre? It starts at 7:30pm. Excited! I might even get you a drink afterwards ūüôā

I’ll be doing a write up of the process and everything after the weekend, along with rehearsal pictures. Also, as part of my blogging position at Amazing Stories, I will also be writing a series on my experiences of writing SF Theatre.

Fiction Friday!

Last week, I started writing commentaries on my plays and so forth, which you can see here. It’s very hard to show plays in the same way you would novel chapters or short story samples, but I will endeavour to do my best!

Last week was Cuckoos and Chrysalids, and this week is A Christmas Gift (that was staged last year in December). I will be doing a piece each week (ish).

In other news, I also did a video proposal for Object, Meet Subject which is also a short play that I hope to be taking up to Manchester. Those of you who are on Twitter may have seen this – I will link it here. It’s a one person show that will be cheap and cheerful to run and I hope people will enjoy it.

I’m also doing a collaboration with Lucy Harrison, a composer who is also studying for her PhD at Royal Holloway. I will give you news on that later – music and writing projects are always something that excite me! The performance should be at the end of September in London – I’m really looking forward to it!

Plays wise – Cuckoos and Chrysalids has been postponed for a later date (I will let you know of all the details). I’m also waiting on quite a few more. NewsHound has also been selected for a future show from one of the companies at the Camden Fringe this year, so very excited about that!

I also may have some exciting news about October and November, but I can’t yet say!

More details will materialise over the month. Here’s hoping!

Fiction Friday- Monologues

For the majority who don’t know – my research has been focused recently on the monologue. It’s known for having a loose definition and as such, not much has been written on it academically. There’s the aside, the apostrophe, the solliquoy, the dramatic monologue, the dialectic monologue, the dialogic monologue, monologue to absent other and so on, with its multiplicity of function being just as varied.

However, there is a common thread – that the monologue places the self at the centre stage of the show, no matter how the “self” is portrayed. In this vein, I have written SF monologues to focus on character and how they see externally the results of certain tropes. I have performed 2 recently – one with the Purpureus Writers at the Centre for Creative Collaboration (3 Degrees) and at a reading with Ben Markovits at Gower Street in London (Mercurial Harbour). If anyone wants to hear some and are around, I’ll let you know via Twitter or will post in here. Without further ado, have a look here for the intro to my collection – I’ve planned about 12 monologues so far!

Non Fiction Friday – Stage the Future!

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For those who don’t know, I’m doing my PhD on Science Fiction¬†and Theatre. When I mention it, I get one of 2 responses. One is often “Oh… I see. Are you going to write an SF novel?” to “Oh my gosh! Fantastic! I’ve always wanted to see SF in theatres!”. I have received more of the latter (although I am going to write an SF novel, but primarily my interest is on the theatrical side), and so am very privileged to be celebrating the combination of the two with Christos Callow Jr. for our conference Stage the Future.

There has been little written on the subject, it has to be said. We have Science Fiction and the Theatre by Ralph Willingham, although with some good mentions of cognitive estrangement, has an apologetic tone and casts certain stereotypes over SF and subsequently, its staging. We also have Staging the Impossible, which does set out to mention the possibilities of staging SF, but in its wake cataloguing a list of defeats. I will be reviewing the two in earnest, do not worry! However, there is a line in the latter that speaks to me(originally from Julius Kargalitski’s essay The Fantastic in Cinema and Theatre):

Consequently,¬†for¬†Kagarlitski,¬†cinema¬†is¬†“an¬†ideal¬†instrument¬†of¬†the fantastic”¬†(11),¬†for¬†it ¬†“excludes¬†any¬†possibility¬†of¬†interference”–in¬†effect¬†offering¬†viewers the¬†sense¬†that¬†“what¬†has¬†been¬†put¬†on¬†film,¬†has,¬†as¬†it¬†were,¬†already¬†happened”¬†(11).

Kagarlitski¬†implies¬†that¬†it¬†is¬†difficult¬†for¬†a¬†theatrical¬†production¬†to¬†“project”¬†such¬†a¬†sense¬†of historicity¬†and¬†thus¬†validate¬†the¬†content¬†of¬†drama.¬†Given¬†this¬†viewpoint,¬†audiences¬†expect less¬†from¬†a¬†production¬†of¬†science¬†fiction¬†in¬†a¬†theater.(Murphy, 198)

There’s something very misleading in this. He mentions in the article that theatre is a conditional art, generating power from the present moment (p10/11). In our “Information Age”, are we not in fact living this SFnal life now? Donna Harraway described us of being Cyborgs in her Manifesto in 1985. We have our information, our footprint, our history in the cloud as it were, our younger generations have their baby photos as purely digital. We are all connected via a grid that, whilst enabling accessibility, erodes our privacy and interaction with the wholly physical world. We are 3D printing human organs, for crying out loud! Is SF then not about exploring our conditional present? Exactly what was being said to dissuade us from staging it in the first place?

Whether you agree or disagree with me, we would love to hear your takes on the subject. Proposals for papers and performance (we couldn’t do one without the other) are welcome with the deadline being Feb 2014. The conference will be held at RHUL, University of London on the 26th April 2014 with our excellent keynote speakers Jen Gunnels and Nick Lowe.¬†You can see our CFP here.

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We look forward to seeing you there!

Writing Thoughts – What’s your Novum?

So I thought I’d break up the blog with more miscellaneous material – how people interpret writing at large. Knowing an author personally makes you think sometimes about the stories they write with an extra added dimension – not all the time, but it makes you think – no matter how Barthes warns us against it sometimes.

Now, I don’t know how many people have read my work – but I sometimes wonder when writing what the author will think. Art is a very personal thing and even if you create degrees of separation (which of course is fiction), there is an underlying personal message, whether you try and disguise it or not.

When I write SF, for example, I often mention the presence (or absence) of children and the act of raising a family. Fishbowl is about a system where children are neatly categorised and raised to a strict routine, Cuckoos and Chrysalides depicts a woman’s battle to keep her children uploaded until she is ready to care for them, Terra Firma has a female character who has now given up on the idea of raising a family as she and her husband flail in a post-apocalyptic world.

Now you may say I write about children as I often work in coffee shops and hear kids crying constantly, but I think there’s something else there. And that is that the very idea of having my own human kids is an SF conceit for me. It’s my own personal novum (Marriage and relationships are vastly becoming SF conceits too to me, but that’s another kettle of fish). It’s something believable but at the moment unfathomable to me – the world would inherently be the same, but I would see it differently. Dangers would be more apparent to me, my mentality would change as regards to time and space and purpose. The act of raising children does fascinate me, and I think this is the reason why I explore these many angles in my written work.

Maybe we all have personal novums, which is why we cling to certain concepts in our written fiction. I’d be very interested in hearing some from other people.

Special Fiction Friday!

After going into stand-by yet again, here is some actual fiction writing by me that I’ve written this afternoon. I tend to get the most ideas when stressed about critical writing – and as procrastination methods go, I can think of worse ones. I have logged down some ideas for later, pending and after the upgrade. Having looked through my list, I have a total of 15 play ideas, having completed 8 (or 9, I guess, as I’ve finished writing this one). I invite you to look but not steal. It’s a little one-off about artists and identification.

Here it is:

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In other news, Fiction Friday related, I have a story published here in the Exegesis Journal. It’s called Mobius Strips of Yarn, and published amongst great writers of creative, critical and reviews. Check out the main journal here!