Saturday, 7 July 2012


Today is Saturday. Next Saturday my first play in seventeen years opens at the Lord Stanley in Camden. Los Feliz, a one-man performance by Robin Holden (pictured), directed by Emma King-Farlow. The following Saturday three other plays of mine, including Angel, in which I also appear, are premiered. And the Saturday after that all four are on in one day.

It was in February that I first saw Robin act, a strong, thoughtful, edgy performance in the production of The Duchess of Malfi at the Greenwich Playhouse where I played various unpleasant and mostly silent characters. I had brought in a copy of First and Fiftieth, my second collection of short stories and Robin had taken it home to read.

A few weeks after the end of The Duchess Robin emailed me to say that he wanted to perform one of my stories in the Solo Festival - the monthlong series of one-man plays at the Lord Stanley in Camden. Would I allow him to do so? And why didn't I do one too? And because the stories were so good, Robin said, why not get others involved as well? Part of me was flattered - sure he could use one of my stories and let's involve others - while part of me almost laughed out loud at the idea of me, who'd barely appeared on stage before, acting in a one-man play.

Of course, like everyone else I'm susceptible to flattery and I had no problem with him or other actors putting on work I had written. And of course I could not refuse the challenge of holding the stage on my own for 30 minutes or more. So during the last few months I have become increasingly involved in the challenge of pulling together myself, three other actors and one director to put on three performances each of plays that I have rewritten from stories that I wrote years ago. Plus doing all the other work of a producer - negotiating with the leaseholders of the theatre, promoting the plays, now pulled together under the title of Loss, and trying to bring in reviewers.

All on top of a long-planned holiday in Scotland, crises in the family home in Edinburgh (leaking roof) and my own home in London (leaking bath), my bookselling business and seeking auditions for other roles and trying, still trying, to find an agent. Which means that I am in that state, familiar to many, between stress and excitement, aware of how much there is still to do (including learning my own lines) and how little time there is to do it.

It's going to be an interesting three weeks. (Now the plug: for detailed information about all the plays,  performance times and venues, click the picture top right.)

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