‘I’m not writing any more short plays.’ I said this to Joe Murphy. In fact I think I’ve probably said it to him a thousand times. Don’t get me wrong, I love a short play, I enjoy watching them, the meze like quality of a night of shorts, seeing the work of more than one writer, the knowingness that your bladder won’t explode by the time the play reaches its climax – BUT, and it’s a BIG but, I’ve written more short plays than Alan Aykeborne (sic) has full lengtheners (and that’s a fucking lot).
But Joe Murphy, he’s a devious so and so. He knows me too well. He rings me up and says ‘Ken, a wee little short play for High Tide festival? It’s got to be based on the idea of the best years of your life. You can write 18. Manhood’ and pretty much the same play I’ve been rehashing for the last five years is manhood. It’s my thing (probably because I’m the least manliest man you’ll ever meet)
So here we are. Another short play. And the problem is you think ‘Well fuck it, I’ll just bang it out on an afternoon and it’ll all be fine’, BUT, and it’s another BIG but, it doesn’t work like that. Suddenly I’ve started to really care about the character of Jack. We’ve roped in a good actor and I don’t want them to have mouldy fruit thrown at them because of my shit play. People will probably come and see it and as Joe’s pretty good I can’t just say the Director fucked up my script.
So I’m sat here, on a rainy Monday morning in London, rewriting the fucking thing for the tenth time while Joe nips off to Russia. He’s a bastard. If you see him throw mouldy fruit at him.
Back to the script.
THE BEST YEARS OF YOUR LIFE
Saturday 5 May and Sunday 6 May // Time: 8pm
The Rifle Hall // HighTide Festival
Tickets // from £6.50 // www.hightide.org.uk