The Dreaded D Word

So far we have had two monthly meetings. They’ve been really well attended and we’ve had some very interesting discussion about writing. How to write, what might help us o write and what might stop us (We will be publishing some helpful tips on here soon). But it has felt somewhat like we were ignoring the elephant in the room. This particular tusked paceyaderm came in the shape of dramaturgy.

We can (and have) looked up formal definitions of the word but these are more often than not unhelpful. Because¬†It’s not that we don’t know what dramaturgy is. It’s just that we’re not convinced that the dramaturgy I am talking about is necessarily the dramaturgy you are talking about.

We’ve decided to bite the bullet and tackle this problem head on. ¬†As such we’ve decided to dedicate our next meeting to discuss what it is, all the different forms it might take. How it can be useful and why we believe it is such an important part of the writing process.

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Thanks, thanks everyone…

Now I don’t normally go in for this sort of thing. But being a proud employee of the Young Vic building I wanted to see the appreciation they rightly deserve, and I ended up watching the whole of ITV coverage of the Olivier awards ceremony.

There was a lot of people thanking themselves for being great and having the best friends. But there were a few standout moments for me.
One massive highlight was David Lan’s (artistic director of the Young Vic) acceptance speech (for A View From The Bridge – best revival), he said

‘I travel quite a lot and wherever I go, I meet people who say to me “Oh you’re David Lan, I hear you run the best theatre in London.” And I say, London is one of the great capital cities of the world. I’m perfectly happy to say I run the best theatre in Waterloo.’

And looking at the number of awards the Young Vic won, it would be hard to argue against it! Not to mention all the excellent work they do that is maybe not as obvious on the surface.

But a couple of other people actually made acceptance speeches that I thought meant something more the usual self congratulation and said something useful.

Sticking with the Young Vic theme, I really liked the sentiment of Mark Strong’s acceptance speech for best actor for his part in A View From the Bridge. As well as all the usual thanks he said that what amazed him about this show was:

‘The young people that came to see it who all wanted to talk about what they were seeing […] all wanted to discuss what the characters were doing on stage, why they were doing it, whether they they agreed with them, how they felt about what they were doing, who they trusted. And that made me realise that thousands of years have gone by and we still have this thing called live theatre; and the reason is that we need to be able to compare ourselves to what we’re seeing up there, judge ourselves as human beings, decide what’s right, what’s wrong, who we are, why we’re here. That’s the point of theatre.’

Also Ray Davies of The Kinks receiving an award for his outstanding achievement in music award shared this bit of advice

‘I think when you write songs you write about people. I know we’ve got fancy dramatists and amazing people here. But without people we have no plays, we have no films. And people are the source of my material. So the next time you’re sitting in a park somewhere and you see someone like me, looking at you, don’t phone the police.’

So keep staring, keep challenging audiences, and keep comparing yourselves to them up there.

The whole of the awards ceremony is available on ITV Player just click here to watch it, if you can put up with all the adverts, and see the relevant minutes below:

David Lan – 7:09
Mark Strong – 22:40
Ray Davies 1:23:15

Ding ding, round 1

I know we’ve been very quiet on here. But trust me we’ve been very busy behind the scenes. As you will have seen from our Twitter (@ClappersTheatre) but just in case you’ve not been seeing the goings on I’ll bring you up to speed.

Firstly, the collective has been swelling. We’ve now got writers, directors, dramaturgs, actors, producers, comedians and some who are a combination of these. Forefront of our aims is to incorporate ideas from all and get a clearer sense of why you need Like the Clappers.

But by way of an introduction the engine room is mainly me, Michael Beigel and Lee Anderson. You’ll get to know us better as we go on, but enough about us, what have we been doing?

We had a meet and greet last week and had a great turnout with really interesting discussions. We outlined some of the difficulties we face, how we can help with that and began drafting ideas for a manifesto.

In this last week I know there have been at least two occasions where Clapperers (that’s the official title) have been to new writing events with others. And myself and Lee have had a ‘thrash it out meeting’ where we got to grips with exactly how this is all gonna work.

Now, obviously we have only got a first draft, and those of you who know my views on drafting know that means there’s still a long way to go. But just to share some of what we’re thinking Like the Clappers will provide:

  • Monthly meetings with a practical focus on new writing and dramaturgy practices
  • A network of theatre proffesionals to develop working relationships with
  • A place to share information, opportunities and skills within the collective
  • Social trips to all things theatre (and maybe beyond)

And much, much more that I’m incapable of explaining properly right now.

So please do keep an eye on our Twitter. Let us know if you want to come to our next meeting (we’ll be announcing the date and content very soon). And generally keep us in the loop.

We’ll try and keep a shorter time between blogs next time!

So here we are!

This is my first blog for Like the Clappers – our new theatre collective. What is it? What do we want to do? Why even bother? I’ll endeavour to explain!
I’ve decided that I want to work more with new writing, using my skills as a director and a dramaturg. The drafting and development stage of scriptwriting can often feel like a luxury rather than a crucial stage of the process – and we want to help with that.
We want to work with writers, directors, actors, designers and audiences to take stories from page to stage – with a focus on all the many steps between them. Writing can be a very solitary act so our aim is to give writers the opportunity to hear, discuss and develop their work before it’s forced in front of an audience. Getting input from other creatives we want to help to develop scripts all the way from a spark of an idea through their many drafts and incantations until it’s a fully bound, warm from the printer final draft – for now.
We want writers who are willing to graft, actors brimming with ideas, directors, dramaturgs, designers and producers keen to stir it all up and us all to come out with a story to tell.
If you want in then get in touch, I want to hear from you. Whatever your experience and whatever you want your level of involvement to be. I want to know what you want from us and I want to find a way for us to do that for you.
Expect difficult conversations about whether jokes are funny enough.
Expect to hear opinions and advice from many different sources, and be ready to give it.
Expect to hear a lot more from us.
And expect us to go Like The Clappers.

Follow us here: @clapperstheatre
Message me, get in touch.