I spent a couple of days last week taking part on a workshop organised under the auspices of the Wales Millennium Centre's Incubator Project
, designed to encourage innovative theatre projects. The company I was working with is trying to find practical ways of putting together a multiply-authored play - as I see it, attempting to create something which exhibits the freshness of a devised project, but the discipline inherent in the "well-made play". Thus, along with a handful of other Cardiff-based playwrights, I took part in exercises involving the generation of dialogue based around random themes, the combining of extracts of previously extant work (e.g. about love, about change), and the writing of short scenes based on paintings, objects, songs etc. Highly stimulating, and very enjoyable, although I was painfully aware of being, by some distance, the oldest person involved. Still, it's always good to experience fresh creative methodologies; and, if a coherent performance piece eventually results, it will be novel to be part of something vaguely avant-garde.
I missed the third day of workshops due to my previously-arranged birthday trip to see "Spamalot
" in the West End. Basically the "Holy Grail
" story with songs, and sundry other Monty Python
references thrown in to please the geeks. Immense fun. There was something strangely heartening about watching Simon Russell Beale, C.B.E., one of the finest Hamlets of his generation, having a laugh with "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life". The show-stealer, though, was Hannah Waddingham as the parodically diva-ish Lady Of The Lake. The experience was only marred by my restricted-view balcony seat; I'd doubtless have enjoyed it more had I sat in the stalls - but probably not £30 more.
Very luckily for me, the BBC appear to be repeating the entire run of "Tracy Beaker" on BBC2 - a much-needed source of income as I search for a proper post-PhD job.