Monday, March 29, 2010

29th March.
I now have a room, and a very nice room it is too, in the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities. Where I am a creative fellow.
And this entitles me to regular money, and stationery, and photocopying, and envelopes, and all that goes with being staff of a university. An ergonomically designed chair and a computer and a view over the Meadows.
And all I have to do just now is read Hume.
And then eventually write a play about him.
But it's not enough.
So I find myself in the wet garden in the grounds of Duddingston Kirk manse where every festival Theatre Alba put on a play. Doing the old exercise: mapping the theatre in my head so I know the theatre I'm writing for.
Even though the theatre is a row of chairs in a garden, and a bit of a stage, and a few lights here and there.
Charlie Nowoskielski, the director, is a really gifted man. An important director, I think, though often his own worst enemy. So fiercely independent he refuses to have anything to do with the system of arts funding and works stubborn and chronically under-resourced outside of it.
It's the same actors, more or less, who always work with him. Because they love him.
I've meant to work with him for years and somehow agreed to cut down the text of THE SEAGULL for him.
So here I am, in with the actors for my tiny share of the even tinier profit.
I haven't dared tell my agent.
And he's given me a plain and occasionally effective version that's out of copyright.
Which I'm not just cutting down.
Because I could no more do that than fly to the moon.
Instead, I have to re-imagine it.
I've given myself a fortnight, when EVERYONE is still running. So I know I'm earning something.
As a kind of holiday.
And I discover tonight that dear Chekhov gives such clear signals, and writes with such marvellous craft and humanity, that it really does feel like a holiday.
An utter pleasure and joy.


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