It’s a bit like life, really... as the preacher said.
Living with mental illness. An endlessly slightly sickening carousel veering between hope and despair.
Stop me if I’ve already crowed about this – I don’t think I have – but my play has now been selected to be repeated on July 23rd at Bedford’s Festival Fringe. This time, I’ve got enough notice to study the craft of playwriting and work out where I’m going with it and what the purpose is and how I want to change the audience’s life, and draft it with a bit more care and thought before the rehearsal process.
I haven’t suddenly decided to chuck everything in and do my PhD on Dramatic Writing for Seriously Small Theatres in the Twenty First Century and Beyond, but I have been reading Ayckbourn on the subject.
And Ayckbourn, like Shakespeare and unlike all those seriously big and serious guns like Sophocles and Æschylus and Racine and all that somewhat sombre gang, understands how comedy and tragedy dance arm in arm so closely entwined and in love that you couldn’t part them without tearing both apart.
Indeed, I read in his little book just yesterday, concentrating so hard in the garden and the sun as I was (and if I’d were concentrating a little harder now I’d look it up for you) how some wise geezer, probably Stephen Joseph, said they’re exactly the same: it’s just a question of where you stop the reel.
Take my father’s superbly long, successful and happy life. Doing a job he was passionate about. Married to a woman he adored. Surrounded now by family who love him.
And yet if you stopped the reel during the war, when his best friend had just been killed... or in the years afterwards, sobbing as he buried his own children at the bottom of the garden as my mother miscarried over and over again till they assumed they could never have their own biological offspring... or indeed now, trapped in his bedroom for ninety-eight per cent of his life, utterly unvisited by the church he served so faithfully, missing my mother every moment of every day...
It could be a pretty poignant tragedy, couldn’t it?
This last week, I’ve been full of hope over Bink.
I have lost count of the number of times she has rung, me... just… well, like a normal daughter.
She is moving back to the kind friends who offered her a home with them indefinitely, and haven’t at all taken offence at her running away.
She seems generally speaking to be awake by day, which presumably means she may be sleeping by night.
I’ve even been able to have several conversations with her about the best way forward for her future and health.
And she is writing, writing, writing.
Stop the reel at this point, and it would appear that life is beginning to hold promise for her.
Stop the reel here, and her tale could be... well, lots of tragedy and comedy mixed.
A bit like life, as the preacher said.
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Now, something else I happened to read the other day is that a blog should be spiced up with videos. So I decided to flex my budding, Sunday, techi-muscle (which is why this post is rather late):
(And all you need to know is that a couple of summers ago, I planted a breathtakingly lovely rose garden in my mother’s memory. And Alex, if you could kindly devise a facility on my blog for a scent-experience for my readers, it would surely put me ahead of most of the other bloggers out there...)