Good morning, lovely readers. I don’t know whether you are lucky enough to have had a little snow over the last 24 hours; we haven’t. That said, I am sitting in one of my favourite places to work in Bedford, The Business Parlour at 44 Harpur Street, on a crisp, fresh and beautifully sunny morning. If you haven’t come across it before, and you are local, check it out. It’s a great place to come and work with friendly staff and they have amazing rooms to hire if you have a meeting. Anyway, enough marketing… you can check out more about them here.
Continuing our series of blogs on the StageWrite writers, I am delighted this morning to introduce you to Edwin Preece, writer of the very excellent little piece called Comfortable – *Spoiler alert* I’m directing this one and I’m very excited about it. So, Edwin, let’s kick off with you telling us a little bit about yourself.
Well, I write part time as most people do – trying to fit it in between all the other demands of life in the 21st century.
Indeed – I think we can all relate to that, can’t we? How long have you been writing plays for and what started you off writing?
I was lucky enough to be asked to join the Palace Theatre Watford’s Writers Group when it was being formed by Joyce Branagh who taught us all the basic craft of writing a play. That was about seven years ago and I have been writing ever since although I no longer live anywhere near Watford. I also quite liked the idea of sitting anonymously in an audience and watching how other people react to your work. I thought this would be much more relaxing than directing or acting in a piece. It isn’t!
Funnily enough, I thought the same thing, but you’re right. It’s all equally stressful!! What prompted you to write the play that you submitted?
I wanted to write a play with a dominant female character who wasn’t facing the usual conflicts that women face in plays usually which are often within the setting of marriage or relationships. I thought that placing somebody like Marjorie in a prison setting and seeing her take control of the situation was a strong central idea for a play. Although the play deals with a serious theme – the loss of a son – there is humour within the characters and this is an important element as it leads the audience away from the dramatic impact that you want to create later on.
Great, I think you really succeeded with that in your piece. Tell us a little bit about your process of writing?
Writing is a solitary business – no one is really interested in what you are writing about or the problems that you’re facing with a project. They might appear to be interested for about ten seconds but then a glazed look sets in. People are much more interested in seeing your work – then they’ll give you lots of opinions about it! For me, I have to work at a desk away from a window with no distractions and just get on with it. What works for me is to write about three pages and then the next day revise them and write three more and the next day revise and write three more. This is a slow progress but I don’t like revising something once it’s finished so there is less work to do if you revise as you go along – also it helps me get back into the language of the characters and the themes of the play.
Interesting! Thanks for that, Edwin. You can catch Comfortable at The Place Theatre, Bradgate Road, Bedford on Wednesday 9th March and you can book tickets for the festival online here.