Unproduced Stage Plays:
When my Mom was terminally ill with cancer, she asked me to write about her, she also said, "People should know what it's like to be where I am"... So what we have here is the story of a dysfunctional Black Country family that struggle with their relationships; argumentative, fiercely protective, fighting for the one person that was their lynchpin. It is I think both funny and moving, and of course it is autobiographical and very personal. But it is also a story that is often untold, and one that most of us will have experienced. It’s been a privilege to write it, but also emotionally draining and perhaps even healing. I didn't think much about it, but simply let the play write itself; often it took directions I really hadn’t anticipated. It has a sort of dream-like quality to it, and the family relive past moments from their lives (rather in the style of a Dennis Potter play), so that past and present intermingle, and even present events jump back and forward, sometimes picking up on events that have gone before. I don’t know what else to say; it’s been a real journey for me and a very difficult one, but the process has been helpful. I think my Mom would approve of this play and it’s wonderful to be able to fulfill her wish.
Quite Peaceful: Play
Ronald Granville died in his sleep. At least that's what everyone is telling him. Somehow he just can't believe it. This chilling black comedy charts Ronald's desperate quest to find the meaning of life at the very edge of existence, and is also a philosophical exploration of our fears and hopes.
Had a rehearsed reading at The Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, won a Stagecoach prize, was short-listed for The International Playwriting Festival 2009 at the Warehouse Theatre, Croydon and was short-listed for a writing award the same year by Bristol Old Vic Theatre, who later dramaturged the play.
Set in the television lounge of an old people's home, four old ladies are alone, as the temporary warden has slipped out up the pub. After a while the door bursts open and four lads burst in, tanked up and out for trouble. They cause mayhem and after some time one of the ladies has had enough and decides to retaliate - this results in the whole incident, which was originally a dare escalating into something more serious. The lads now have to confront the reality of their actions, and slowly the two groups learn something about each other and themselves. Respect veers dangerously between the real possibility of violent action, black comedy and moving pathos as the difficulties, similarities, and seemingly hopeless notions of belonging of these two apparently different groups of society are explored.
I wrote this play having spent some time working with young prisoners at Brinsford Young Offenders Institute in Wolverhampton. This is a very tough prison indeed for young men aged 15-21 years. I learnt a lot from my experience there, and have come to understand that although some of course have to be punished for crimes, there are some young men that are there because of their circumstances: a broken home, abuse, poor parenting, lack of education, etc. I also spent time talking with old people in their various homes and institutions, including the staff and patients at Highcroft Hospital, and was struck by how similar these two disparate groups were; largely abandoned by society and regarded as something of a nuisance. The very old and the very young are not cared for properly, and this is what I wanted to address in Respect...
Trevor Peacock is guilty of income tax evasion, but when he enters a new prison, he is shocked to discover a regime that randomly increases prisoners sentences for petty discrepancies, and the steely governor, Mrs Black together with her vicious henchman, prison guard, Mr Mince are also intent on pushing things a lot further. When Trevor meets his cellmate, Bellman, he is horrified to learn that he is a practising cannibal, but worse is yet to come as the home office increases the prison's powers and Mrs Black is anxious to enforce the ultimate punishment... and it's not execution!
I used to work in a young offenders prison (Brinsford in Wolverhampton), and the kids there have a very tough time of it. I guess what I’m doing with Sandman is taking the general public’s attitude to offenders and what should be done with them (Bring back the birch! Hang the bastards! Take their tellies away! etc), and take it to absurd, surreal lengths!