>Contractors and Reporters

>Inspired by the comments on David Eldridge’s “Who’s the Daddy?” blog entry I headed into town to buy a copy of David Storey‘s plays. I’d seen a TV version of The Contractor years ago, but never read it. It’s a play of amazing texture – very writerly – and the marquee … bowled me over. I can’t join in the debate about greatest playwright though – I tend to relate to plays rather than bodies of work. And I’m fickle.

I try not to read too many plays when writing intensively, but recently I’ve been re-reading Saved, Blasted and Top Girls for work. Tangling with pieces like this (and The Contractor) can make it very difficult to sit down and pretend to be a writer, but they also make you realise the range of what can be done. On balance, a good thing I think.

I also bought a copy of Dominic Dromgoole’s Will and Me for later. I often find Dromgoole annoying (“all good plays are written in 3 days tops”, “playwrights should spend more time in the pub with me”, “playwrights are born, not made” to paraphrase wildly inaccurately some of his ideas that exclude me from the party), but reading about his immersion in theatre can be an useful antidote to long periods away from the rehearsal room. Of course, if I wrote plays in 3 days, spent more time in the pub with artistic directors and was a natural-born playwright, there probably wouldn’t be long periods away.

P’s in Liverpool this weekend, so I decided to queue for a return for Nicholas Wright’s The Reporter. I got a decent seat for £12 (I had to pretend to be an OAP, which is easier than it used to be). The play sets the illusory certainty propagated by the BBC of the Richard Dimbleby era against the messiness of actual experience (personal and international). It’s a play that sets a lot of ideas running. I need to think it through.

Apparently, James Mossman, the real-life person at the heart of Wright’s play, told Peter Shaffer the story that inspired the writing of Equus.

Tonight I’m going to see An Oak Tree at the Soho.