One Writer’s Journey whilst Travelling Light.
Travelling Light Festival of New Writing, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 16th & 19th November
I was delighted to get the phone call from Aberystwyth Arts Centre, just before Christmas 2008, to say that I’d been accepted onto Travelling Light II because I’m eager to learn and master the craft of playwrighting and the prospect of mentoring felt like very welcome assistance. I’m widely published as a poet, and, perhaps because many of my poems are monologues, in 2005, Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales, suggested I had a go at drama, specifically, radio drama.
I thought it would be less challenging than it’s been to stretch out into drama; to develop from reflections into actions, to move from moments to events and to muster the decisiveness to define plotlines. But Kaite O’Reilly has been great at pacing us and clarifying dramaturgical processes, holding out for integrity and supporting us through the times when I felt that drama was just too demanding.
In May, after we sent off our first, ‘stumble through’ scripts, I likened playwrighting to the act of fashioning an egg from a lump of rough granite and then brooding that stone egg until it warmed and cracked to life. My egg stayed rough and cold until, stamina almost exhausted; I made crucial decisions about character, actions and plot. I was definitely travelling heavily, not light! When my ‘stone egg’ warmed, I felt I was achieving the impossible and was inspired to continue.
It was bliss to move into the territory of utterance and expression. I really enjoyed the discoveries of the final re-writes and now I’m very excited about working with the actors and director on the 14th November to present a rehearsed reading on 16th November, 7.45 p.m. at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. I hope that members of the National Theatre of Wales Community will come along.
I’m also relishing seeing the plays that the other three playwrights have been working on, because, in order to prevent cross-pollination of ideas, we haven’t talked to one another about what we’ve been writing for this festival. I’m sure, with Kaite’s steerage, they’ll be great plays.