Being on the radio is fun.

I say ‘fun’, providing you are able to block out the ridiculous ramblings you come out with when asked perfectly straight forward questions; can forget the fact that you said “ambiguous” approx. 56 times and are able to move past using the phrase “as’twere”. Yup, “as’twere” … not “as it were” like a normal person, but “as frickin ’twere”. Who do I think I am, a bargain-basement Russell Brand with my Victoriana English? As soon as the hideous phrase fell out my mouth I wanted to immediately recall it and/or have the ground swallow me up, but of course the conversation carried on and it’s forever recorded – now only at the mercy of the Editor. Please God let her cut it out.  

In case you’re lagging behind here, I was in that there London this week recording a slot on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. I was delighted to be invited on the programme and excited to meet the other guests – an eclectic mix of cellist Steven Isslerlis, novelist David Vann and storyteller Rachel Rose Reid. Most of all, though, I was terrified of saying something stupid. Like “as’twere”. I kept telling myself over and over that it wasn’t live so, really, what was the worst that could happen? (*hollow laughter*) But then, Editors can only work with what they’ve got – and if all you give them are endless “ambiguouses” then they are limited in what they can achieve.

On the plus, the reading of Yackety Yak seemed to go well. And really, that is what I was there for. I’m all about the work, dah-ling. At first I was so nervous (all the guests recorded together and I was last – ie, plenty of time to get panicked) that I kept tripping over the words and having to stop and go back a few lines. But I warmed in to it, and Ian, David and Rachel Rose were very generous in their laughter which really helped. (Please don’t think Steven just sat there stony faced, he had left by this point for another appointment).

Going into BBC Broadcasting House was ever so slightly thrill-tastic. I walked round the building twice before venturing inside. I am not quite sure why given you don’t have to be a guest on a BBC radio programme to walk round the building, but I did. And I took some photos outside. I got issued with a Visitor Pass which I was going to try and steal but the security guard looked like he didn’t take no messing, so I dutifully returned it on leaving. I wanted to take a photo in the Studio but thought that might seem a bit tragic, like I don’t spend every day recording my play for national radio, so my camera stayed in my bag. The show’s presenter is Ian McMillan – a lovely man who put everyone at their ease in seconds – and all the team were welcoming. And there were sandwiches, and brownies. And fruit. (I had a banana to look vaguely healthy, but rest assured my eyes never left the brownies.)

I haven’t heard the final programme. It is on tonight, 9.15pm on BBC Radio 3 and then available on iPlayer until Fri 4 Feb … click [here] to listen. I am not sure what to do for the best – listen to it as broadcast or wait. Maybe I won’t listen to it at all (disclaimer: I will). I’ll see how my nerves are holding up as the evening progresses. As’twere.

I’ve always said I’ve got a face for radio

Remember me?

I have been very remiss in my website-ness of late, for which I can only apologise. My reasons are few and honest

  1. I have been very busy
  2. Due to the improved TV signal in my new house my magic Freeview box is back able to record all my favourite telly programmes

Anywoo, on with the news … 

No sooner had I written in my New Year round-up that one of my 2011 aims is to “make further headway into radio drama” then a producer from BBC Radio 3 was on the phone I was invited to appear on The Verb.  Maybe next year I should write “win the Lottery” and see if lightning strikes twice?! So, I’ll be reading my play Yackety Yak on the airwaves. Yes, I WILL be reading it … me, myself … yowzah! I am heading down to Broadcasting House next week to record the programme with presenter Mr Ian McMillan and it’s being broadcast on Friday 28 January @ 9.15pm.

My brand new shiny monologue CLINT will be unveiled at Live Theatre on Thursday 3 March. It’s part of a night called Boys on the Edge – one-man plays about boys of the cusp of adulthood. It follows on from the success of ‘Girls on the Verge’ last year and also features new works by Bridget Deane and Laura Lindow.

I was a bit nervous about writing for this one, I’ve not written a lot of male characters and certainly not teenage boys. But, set me a challenge and I’ll do my damndest and I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I found it difficult to get started, but once I found Clyde’s ‘voice’ he became a joy to write. We’re at the rehearsal draft stage with it so I don’t want to say too much, but suffice to say it’s a bit of a crazy-ass concept and quite possibly goes down some of the darkest roads I’ve ever traversed.

Thrillingly, Boys on the Edge is already sold-out. It sold out so fast I didn’t even have a ticket. But, if any seats are released or extra performances added I will let you know. (**UPDATE 25/1/11 – second date added, Fri 4 Mar @ 8pm **)

 Past Glories; Day 181: It might seem to have gone quiet on this front but it hasn’t … but the things that are happening are things out of my hands. Namely, auditions have been held and casting is imminent. So, soon there will be actors attached to the characters – I can’t wait. Draft #2 was met with approval so will be the draft going in to rehearsals, but I’ll be there for further re-writes. You get to a point when you need to start hearing it and seeing it to know where and what needs cutting and changing.  Rehearsals start in mid-Feb and I’m looking forward to this next stage with it – I enjoy collaborating with actors and the director, seeing the play bed in with the team and grow and develop.

That’s about the size of it. The Tobacco double-bill is selling well at Northern Stage next month, but there are still tickets available so do come along if you can.

Toodle-pip for now … xx

Anton & Me … (+ Past Glories; Day 46)

Howdy. How are we all? Good? Great. Let’s get back to me …

I am delighted to report that the workshop for Can Cause Death went incredibly well. Charlotte, David and I went through the script bit by bit and by the end were left with a rehearsal draft I think we’re all happy with. David is heading off to Dublin to perform at The Gate Theatre until the end of October, so he’s taking the signed-off script with him to learn. How very thrilling.

I also got the chance to meet Sophie, the producer; Fabrice, the designer and Phillippa, the composer.  AND, saw my piece alongside Chekhov’s Harmful Effects for the first time since York back in June … which suddenly made it all very real.

Me on a double-bill with the mighty Chekhov, who’d have thunk it?!

We rehearsed at Paines Plough, and below are a few poor-quality shots of David and Charlotte in action …

Just a quick word about David Bradley. A legendary actor, we already know this. But what a damn nice man, to boot. Generous, gracious, patient, funny – he and Charlotte made me feel so welcome and I am delighted to be part of the project. David didn’t even mind when I asked him about Harry Potter. Well, it didn’t seem like he minded but then he is an Olivier Award winning act-or … oh dear …

 ‘When’s it on?’, I hear you ask. ‘Where?’ Patience my friends. Announcements coming soon … [Update: announcement announced – click here]

Past Glories; Day 46 

Just a mini-update on this one … the feedback from Michael Chaplin is in and it was all very positive, with useful suggestions of things to look at again/consider. Armed with this – along with an informal reading last night by some friends – means I am on the homeward stretch towards the official Draft 1, to be handed in on Mon 13. Hearing work read out loud is invaluable, it flags up so many things, so to be able to do that even at this early stage was great. Thanks to Kath, Jo and Alisha.

  • In other news … I WON!!! My play Yackety Yak triumphed at Live’s A Million Short Cuts event last week. 57% of the audience vote, I’ll have you know. There is no actual prize, just the warm glow of victory! For details about the night, click [here]
  • In other other news … disappointingly I was unable to record my Come To Where I’m From monologue. Dull story, don’t ask. All is not lost though and I am hoping to get a recording organised on home turf and send it down to them. Fingers crossed.