tue 12/12/2017

First Person

'Making it new' - Blake Morrison on adaptation, and how his new play came to life

Is there anything more terrifying for a playwright than the first day of rehearsals? For months, even years, you’ve been working and reworking the text, saying the words aloud to yourself in an empty room and imagining the actors saying them to a...

Read more...

'No matter where our intersections lie, we are all fundamentally connected'

Trouble in Mind, written by Alice Childress, the black actress, playwright and novelist, first opened at New York’s Greenwich Mews Theatre in November 1955. The show made Childress the first African-American woman to win an Obie Award for an off-...

Read more...

'We're Still Here': Rachel Trezise on her NTW play about Port Talbot steelworkers

I’ve always written alone. As a novelist, that’s what you do. Sit around in your pyjamas composing sentences that come almost entirely from your own imagination. It’s difficult sometimes to conjure the self-discipline required to complete a draft in...

Read more...

Aspiration, ecstasy, melancholy: 'The Tale' of Torbay

A dark star explodes. I cannot remember the future. A figure appears on the beach. We're always reaching out. It's always just over there. We're always dreaming. The grey rocks, the red sand, the blue sea. Everywhere, the sea. Everything you ever...

Read more...

'The kaleidoscope of an entire lifetime of memories'

When director Bruce Guthrie first gave me the script for Man to Man by Manfred Karge, I was immediately mesmerised by the language, each of the 27 scenes leapt off the page. Some are a few short sentences, other pages long; every one a...

Read more...

The 'self-experimenter': Howard Brenton on Strindberg in crisis

I wrote The Blinding Light to try to understand the mental and spiritual crisis that August Strindberg suffered in February 1896. Deeply disturbed, plagued by hallucinations, he holed up in various hotel rooms in Paris, most famously in the Hotel...

Read more...

Christopher Shinn: 'I did not know if I would be alive and someone wanted me to write a play'

Plays do not usually come into being in isolation. When I search my gmail archive I see that my first communication with Robert Icke about a commission came in April 2012. Rupert Goold and Rob were still at Headlong then. I was busy so asked that we...

Read more...

Emma Dibdin: 'Being scared of something is a sign you should write about it'

When I began writing my first novel four years ago, there were a few ideas that had coalesced in my mind. I knew I wanted to write a thriller about mental illness through the eyes of a young woman whose family had been defined by it; someone...

Read more...

Lisa Jewell: 'I’d never killed anyone before'

I started writing my first novel in 1995. I was 27 and I’d just come out of a dark, dark marriage to a controlling man who’d kept me more or less locked away from the world. I had no front door key, no phone, was not allowed to see my friends or my...

Read more...

'You win in the end!' Deborah Bruce introduces her play 'The House They Grew Up In'

My inspiration for The House They Grew Up In, my new play at Chichester Festival Theatre came about five years ago, in the café of an art gallery near my house. This café had a slightly intimidating air, full of its own importance, as if the art in...

Read more...

'Oh, the glamour!' - Roderick Williams weighs up a singer's life

“So, what do you do for a living?” You might think this question, the mainstay of any polite conversation with a new acquaintance, would be just the moment any opera singer would relish. Here is the chance to declare who we are, what we do, and to...

Read more...

Matthew Dunster on adapting 'A Tale of Two Cities'

When you are adapting a novel like A Tale of Two Cities, it's a privilege to sit with a great piece of writing for a considerable amount of time. You also feel secure (and a bit cheeky) in the knowledge that another writer has already done most of...

Read more...
Subscribe to First Person