Thought about writing a play?

Recently a couple of teachers at my daughters’ primary school asked if I’d mind joining them for a brainstorming session to help create the school production. This year they had to write their own play.

We bonded over wine and an impressive amount of savoury snacks and started piecing together some ideas.

A couple of brainstorming (read laughing at our own brilliance over vino) sessions later, they asked if I’d be able to bring together our scattered themes and sketched out characters and write the play itself.

photoWould I? Definitely. I’d always wanted to write a play and had never had the chance. Of course, I had no clue how to do it and turned to my old mate google to get some advice.

The first and most helpful website I came across was http://www.jonathandorf.com.

Now I won’t claim to have followed all his advice but there were some key elements that helped me give the play structure. The best being a ‘ticking time clock’.

At it’s heart a quest, our play needed tension, urgency and something with a backbone to bring it together. Giving it an ‘Amazing Race’ feel injected that kick up the butt timeline it really needed.

It was also essential to include humour the kids would relate to, so I mined for popular book and movie references, technology references, fashion sayings and so on from my kids and their friends. We felt the play should definitely have a great soundtrack, so it’s going to feature a fantastic selection of music too and we’re hoping it will be played by a live band. Some of the actors will sing!

To make it even more current, a group of tech savvy kids are putting together visuals of news releases, social media posts and updates which will appear on the big screen to buddy up with what’s going on on the stage. It helps that our primary school is an Apple Distinguished School!

With the script finally finished and the kids reading snippets in preparation for auditions, I was pretty nervous. But once it all got going a Year 6 boy stopped me after school to tell me how much he liked it. I took that as high praise!

I’ve heard established authors talk about the feeling of losing their story, once their book is published. I think they simply mean that once the book is out there, in the hands of the reading public, then that story becomes something else. It takes on a life of it’s own in the minds of the readers. The author created it, but now it belongs to everyone who reads it. I think this is an even stronger sensation when you’re talking about letting go of a play or screenplay.

I went to the first lot of auditions and it was an amazing experience listening to the kids say my words. I’d written them, I’d given tMakes_me_wanna_jumphem life and then they took them in totally different directions. It was incredible. Later, as the rehearsals have progressed, the kids have added their own touches, including words I might not have thought of and references they understand much better than I do. I haven’t lost my story, it’s evolved naturally to become something even better.

I don’t envy the wonderful teachers who have to coordinate the actors, props, technology, costumes, sets and music to make this happen. But here’s hoping the audience likes the play! I know that it’s going to be a worthwhile experience for all of us.

Colour My World goes live in September 2015. Watch this space!

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