Thursday, July 17, 2014


It’s the first day of rehearsals and the cast are nervous.

The dog is more than a little unsure about how to become a ghost.

The two halves of the main character are not at all sure who is who. Or why.

The hospital consultant not sure who’s he supposed to talking to; and the GP’s gone absent without leave.

As for dear White Ted, he’s holding everything together. By a thread.

The director is being very brave.

Everyone’s got every right to be nervous: there’s a whole load of rewriting that I should have done, and didn’t, and it’s coming home to roost.

We talk to everyone in turn. There’s a game you can play: read the script, and when you hit a line you’re unhappy with say “Stop!”.

At the beginning everyone says Stop!! a lot. But that’s OK. You fix it.

By Tuesday morning, everyone’s got happier. By Tuesday afternoon, we’re borrowing scissors to cut up the main characters’ speeches and leave them in shreds on the rehearsal room table, and then put them back together in some crazy four dimensional emotional jigsaw puzzle and what fun it all is.

And how much happier we all are. Everyone. Including me. I’ve just re-discovered how much i love rewriting in rehearsal.

Especially with such amazing, passionate, and creative collaborators...

Wednesday morning and I’m on the train writing one last speech, which flows out quite easily in the Scotrail carriage but which, when I dictate it to the cast (“Doctor comma a year ago my lover died full stop. i was with him full stop...”) makes me cry uncontrollably because finding it has taken me to a place where i didn’t want to go. And that’s been the trouble all along....

But the most important thing is that when I take the script out of my bag in the train compartment I feel such pride as I put it down on the table:


(WHITE TED AND THE RIGHT TO DIE opens at the Chandler Studio, RCS, Glasgow, on August 27th)

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