Yesterday, Friday 29 July ’16, I, along with some dear friends and my mum, went along to The Black Box to see my one act play ‘To Ten’ performed by the wonderful folks at LunchBox Theatre here in Belfast.
LunchBox aims to develop the work of emerging playwrights from the North of Ireland, and provide directing and performing opportunities to local artists.
I’ve been asked a lot over the last day about what it’s like to watch your work and not be involved in the production.
Well, in a way it’s great. I get to do my job and then hand it over to someone else to do theirs. As a writer my job is to write. As a director or an actor it’s their job to bring those words to life. So there is a sort of detachment that you need to have in order to be a professional writer. You can’t be precious about your words. You need to to understand that edits have to happen, sometimes changes have to be made, sometimes the tone is different, sometimes the characters aren’t how you imagined. AND THAT’S ALL FINE.
Seriously. As a writer I write. That’s my job. It’s not my job to police how other people interpret those characters or that situation. I can’t stand behind everyone reading my work and correct their interpretation of it.
And that’s one of the most exciting things about script writing. I get to see it for the first time, just like everyone else in the audience. And that is a wonderful pleasure.
But it’s also terrifying.
I was worried that it would be a disaster. That the actors would be awful. That the director had screwed it up. That no one would laugh.
So I sat, terrified, anxious and sweating like an ice cube in hell while I watched and waited.
And I had nothing to worry about.
There is nothing like that wonderful moment of the first audience laugh. That moment when the words and the direction and the acting all come together in one wonderful instant.
And they laughed. And laughed. Fuck, I laughed, and I knew what all the jokes were. But the delivery of them was all new to me, and it was like a whole new joke. And that, I think, is what it’s really like to watch your work performed. It’s like you are hearing it all for the first time.
Yesterday it all came together in a way I hadn’t expected. The audience enjoyed it, the actors were utterly amazing and absolutely hilarious with a wonderful sense of timing, physical presence and self awareness that enabled them to make the audience laugh and cringe in equal measure, and the director, who is still a student himself and has no bloody right to be so damn talented at that age, really pulled it all out of the bag and brought the whole thing to life.
Honestly, I was so proud to have those people speaking my words. I couldn’t have asked for better.
And so now, a rest. Until next week at least.