'It Started With A Touch' a play about a Mother who witnesses her son beating up an innocent man, reporting him to the police, and her son being sent to prison, was my first London production, part of Wimbledon Studio's Fresh Ideas, and later ' Runaway' a two- hander loosely based on the Jeremy Forrest situation, a schoolteacher eloping with a schoolgirl to France, produced by Small But Mighty Theatre in Toronto.
It wasn't until I met Colin Burden the Artistic Director of The Bootleg Theatre Company in Salisbury that I ever regarded monologues as plays, or could be, that they could have value dramatically. It was something I had never considered. Who would want to come watch one person on a stage telling a story? Where's the 'drama' in that? What's the point? You may as well read a book or listen to the radio!
But I thought I'd give it a try. I wrote a play called 'Torched' sent it to Colin, he liked it and together with another monologue by Annie L Cooper entitled 'Cookie' forming a double bill under the title
of 'Deal With It', it was staged at Barons Court Theatre and toured the south west, very successfully and got great reviews.
It was followed by another monologue I wrote entitled 'Birth' about a lonely vicar's daughter, a virgin, who is raped , gets pregnant and has the child of her attacker, and her life is changed for the better because of it, winner of the Lost Theatre's One Act play festival, and perhaps the most successful to date. And 'Brotherly Love' about a brother's unhealthy love for his sister, which played at Barons Court a while back. I began to see the value in monologues. They weren't such a bad idea after all. And far better writers than me had proved they worked.
Indeed the idea for 'Maisie' I believe was consciously or unconsciously conceived as a result of that. (writers are the biggest thieves out there) The stories are similar. But told in a very different way.
I now 'see things' very differently in terms of the representation of a story, its structure and form. As part of the Royal Court writers' group of 2016, I learnt that it was important when you had an idea, to consider various ways of telling your story, don't necessarily write it the way you initially see it, but wait, let it develop a bit, and discover the best way dramatically to represent it.
Whilst I think or I hope 'Maisie' works as a monologue, it could easily be a five or six character play, as Dan Reegan in the play, talks about other people he comes across, and speaks their words. And run for 90 minutes rather than 50.
I consider myself lucky to have 'found' Gwenan Bain as a director for 'Masie'. She's a very talented young director with great vision, and I believe a great future. I was so impressed with the way she dealt with actors who auditioned for the part, her methodology, the way she encouraged them to be in different situations to that depicted in 'Maisie'. It was a real eye opener to me.
'Maisie' – the beginnings of. (Spoiler alert)
I had the idea for a play about a Father taking his young daughter to London for the day where she is involved in a tragic accident, about a year ago. The play I initially entitled 'Afters'. It was going to be about a Father getting revenge on the driver of a van who falls asleep at the wheel, knocks over and kills his daughter. And how the Father waits for the man to leave prison to get his revenge and maybe kills him. It went no further than some random scenes and I stopped working on it. I came back to it earlier this year and questioned who the driver might be, what were the circumstances that led to the incident, why did he fall asleep at the wheel, where was he going? I had some answers to those questions and completed the play and the result is 'Maisie'.
I hope you enjoy it.
Maisie runs 3 - 7 December at 7:30pm - BOOK NOW