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I feel before I write this blog that I should probably attach some kind of disclaimer to it –  the disclaimer being that the thoughts given are very much my own and that everyone is entitled to their own opinion…

Saying that, I do feel that some clarity needs to be given on what we can class as ‘new writing’. Where am I going with this? An example: I saw an adaptation of a well known ghost story the other day in a rather large local London venue. Suffice to say, it was poorly written, wearily acted and would have looked dated in the 1980s. Now, the fact that the script hadn’t seemed to have seen its way past a first draft (at least I assume not) which resulted in many minutes of boredom was not the problem. I have come to the sad realisation that ‘tat’ (in my humble opinion) will get commissioned for the stage.

My problem is that this well known short story adapted for the stage had to be classed as ‘New Writing’. At least, I had to reconcile it in my mind as such. Why this disturbed me so is not because it is an adaptation (I am fond of adaptations myself, and WBN is planning an adaptation of epic proportions), nor is the problem the productions dreadfulness. The problem I had was WHY NOW? Neither the script nor the production seemed to have any relevance to the world we live in today. The only reason I can fathom that this play was made was for financial reasons. In fact, I think the production meeting probably went something like this: … ‘People might know this story – and they def know the author… We could do it with just three actors and a shoddy set! Ooh, let’s pay a small child to write an adaptation for the price of a mars bar!’…

I am not trying to suggest that ALL new writing needs to be based on current affairs. Even I, with a love of political theatre, would get bored if every play on was a Stockwell or an Enron (by the by, if anyone has an Enron ticket they want to give me I will give many pounds or do things for them of a suspect nature). But surely New Writing should be coming from the now – the writer or creator is making it based on the world and life they are living today. If this is too much of a problem (or if this is just my sole humble opinion, and gets shouted down by the masses) could there be some kind of differentiation?

If a distinction hasn’t already been made, may I be so bold as to coin the term NOW WRITING. Writing we can see has been created for now – that resonates with the world today. That doesn’t mean it has to be about the Olympics or Iraq or current affairs but has a sense of today’s world at its core – in its being. Now, that is obviously going to be subjective and my argument may be flawed and problematic. But if we can find a way of separating new writing so the next Jerusalem doesn’t get tarred with the same brush as the inevitable new adaptation of Dracula (because Vampire are SO in right now) then I would be very happy… I’d be nit picking and snobby, but happy.

Charlie

Write By Numbers

Write By Numbers is a new-writing theatre company. This is where we blog.

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