The Creation of Waiting

“Waiting”.  The trilogy of plays in this title “My Perfect Place”, “The Big Squeeze” & “The End” didn’t start life together … as one concept.  Not that I was aware of anyway.

They did start butting into my thoughts and feelings at around the same time in 2009. 

Each began life as a tiny paragraph.  The seed of ideas. Over the next three years they continued to niggle and grow.

Jessie and Mary (from “The Big Squeeze”) began to form into dialogue (beyond synopsis) before any of the others and even before their character backgrounds were created.  Some of this dialogue has since been enjoyed by audiences in sketch form for the Punch Pandemonium sketch show brand, for “Anything Can Happen” … a musical review I wrote for Johnstone Phoenix Theatre Group and for the ROAR community project I undertook as H-arts.

Jessie and Mary have become much-loved characters but in this format (comedy play) they are seen as originally intended … Two wee Glesga wummin who happen to be hilarious!  The pace and allowance for irony and a little sprinkle of tragedy is very different to that of sketch format.

Several seeds inspired the birth of my Jessie and Mary: (1) A colleague (years ago) rushed in breathless and laughing.  He explained he had heard two wee women on the bus.  One says to the other “See men Jessie, sure men’s pish, Jessie!?”.  I swore I’d use that one day and it stayed with me.  (2) Two ladies I met when directing a club musical.  Quite simply they were a natural double act!  (3) I guess, every wee characterful, hard-working Glesga wumman I’ve ever come across!

I simply LOVE writing for Jessie and Mary be it sketch or play.  I was delighted to go back to their original form and began with their background stories (again turning out to be like novels themselves).  I love the changes in rhythm their comedy/tragedy balance allows me.  They make us laugh one minute and then we’ll get a wee glimpse of unexpected poignancy.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have creating them.

I can’t be clear as to what came next but I feel I was “writing” all three at the same time.  Back stories and synopsis again created and lived in my head then on paper for a long time.  They (characters/stories) were building, dialogue was building, growing and happening and then BAM! Out they came.

I think with “The End” and Frankie’s story the dialogue truly began as a sentence in my head.  A sentence she spoke.  Her opening sentence.  As it came to me, I spoke it out loud, ran for a book and I was off!  It absolutely tumbled out of me.

I loved her character and personality, her chatty way.  She doesn’t “get” how people can think that of her but you’ll see what I mean.  She’d be great on a girlie, chatty lunch! It’s just a shame that her chatty ways are a cover and in sharp contrast to what is going on.

Little of that changed in the edit as, on looking, I loved the contrasts and rhythm changes (I like to rollercoaster you along every now and then), how her actions betrayed her tone and your assumptions, value judgements and sympathies are challenged to the point of collusion. 

I’m so excited to be directing this one and can’t wait to see it develop.

“My Perfect Place” is Sarah and Joe’s story.  Part of the inspiration was a journey I once took and the utterly smack in the face feeling I got in seeing the view.  I often think of that place and imagine myself there when I need to.  So the view and that use of my memory of it, inspired this story.

I love the complexities and hidden stories behind Sarah and Joe and how their building relationship develops to mean … well, what does it mean?

At some point, in the writing process I realised that these stories were linked … through Frankie. I know it sounds like arty farty piddle but it was truly like they were pulling together and “wanted” to be linked … Yes it is arty farty piddle … I guess I didn’t realise that somewhere in my creative brain, the idea for linking them was already there, just not apparent.  Once it was clear to me, it gave new life … Especially to Frankie and her back story!

After a reading (to invited guests) and having taken time to go through responses, choose which feedback to work with, then allowing more time for all of that to settle, I locked myself away for a weekend in a wee haven of a place and did the edit.

I knew, as new plays, they would further develop in the production phase and I was excited about that.  People have asked if I was afraid handing the other two pieces over to different directors but the simple answer is that I couldn’t have been more excited for the plays.  I wanted them to develop.  I chatted with them, and gave very clear views of the vital elements to characters and dialogue etc, the core of the plays,  and would have final say on any bigger changes.  I didn’t feel nervous about that at all and, indeed encouraged actor/director input!  I LOVED their ideas and passions for their play.

In working on “The End”, I relished in the collaborative work with the actors to see it grow and come to life.  Such talent.  I only saw each of the other two plays once in rehearsal, did a writing edit on “The Big Squeeze” and some advisories to both.  Seeing all three run together for the first time was a breathtaking experience.  I am very lucky.

I hope you enjoy

“W a i t i n g”


                                       “My Perfect Place”     “The Big Squeeze”     “The End”

as much as I enjoyed writing them.

PREMIER – Fri 12th & Sat 13th September 2014 at Websters Theatre, Glasgow.