Return to Albion
Return to Albion was my first venture into writing, as part of a devised show by Castaway Community Theatre. The central theme was a railway station over 150 years. The station mistress, Cyril Happenstall, a part I wrote and also performed, sees the world, despite always remaining in the same place. Cyril was someone whose father never realised she was a girl, is brought up as a son, and is given opportunities on the railway that would not have been considered appropriate for a daughter.
Having performed Alfred Jarry's three Ubu plays over a four year period, Castaway Community Theatre's 2009 show was a mash up of all three plays within a framing story that I was invited to write. This featured the Resipsa Loquitur, a shadowy Government organisation comprising of a Managing Executive, An Esteemed Leader, a Chief Burgher, a Premier Counsellor and a First Minister, who had devised Ubu and Ma Ubu as a foolish plaything to distract the People while the Resipsa Loquitur could do as it pleased without being challenged. A further initiative was Look at My Stool - a system whereby people could give their friends and relatives the key to a box in order to update them on recent bodily functions. The secret purpose of Look at My Stool however was to enable the Resipsa Loquitur to identify who was connected to who and to find personal information that the people were reluctant to disclose to the Resipsa Loquitur itself. Now That's What I Call Ubu was performed at Aberystwyth Arts Centre in May 2009.
Don't Put Your Sea Monster on the Stage
This was the inaugural production by Aberystwyth Arts Centre's Writing for Performance group, on the theme Beginnings. A and B are trying to write a play. A is determined to write serious theatre, but keeps getting distracted by his friend B who is disruptive and is determined that a play must have a sea monster.
This was a collaborative project by the Aberystwyth Arts Centre's Performance Writing Project. Again, the theme of things not being what they seem recurs, as it transpires that the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg.
The Rock was part of a project called a Scriptography Productions project called Playpen: a play-off whereby two nights of plays were performed, with the two best pieces from each show being developed further. My piece, The Rock was about a bad-tempered toad who is dismayed to discover that a very chirpy grasshopper is moving in next door, thereby upsetting Toad's quiet existence. However, when the bulldozers come, Toad and Grasshopper realise they must work together. Fortunately, the grasshopper's collection of accumulated tat saves them both from ruin.
This was framing story for Castaway Community Theatre's 2011 show: a revue of sketches about Shakespeare. My brief was to provide a vein of darkness to the show, and this came in the form of Puck who sees drama being misused and mistreated by the vain and the ignorant. Puck gets increasingly angry by the appropriation of drama by the self-important and the self-serving.
This project was an audio drama project, and again explores my interest in Shakespeare's fairy characters. This time Ariel is charged with educating two self-centred twins who lack any kind of individuality. Through the use of magic, Ariel shows them the world, but the twins are unimpressed and report Ariel to her superiors. Ariel is punished.
Last Night at the London Palladium
Last Night at the London Palladium was written for Dirty Protest Theatre's Play in a Bag project and performed by Sharon Morgan at Dirty Protest and National Theatre Wales's Dirty, Gifted and Welsh in 2014. Woman Unnamed is all the people you've seen on television but never noticed: the game show contestant, the audience member, the volunteer from the audience. She is invisible, but it is only when she takes to the stage in the theatre (the operating theatre) when she becomes something unreal - something she is not, that anybody pays her the least attention.
Crash Test Scratch Nights
I have also participated in a number of Scratch Nights, showcasing new work, most notably at Aberystwyth Arts Centre and The Other Room Theatre. Pieces I have developed through this project include Going Back to Ellen Street, Screw, and Don't Say Nowt, which is a companion piece to To Kill a Machine, telling the same story from the perspective of Alan Turing's lover Arnold Murray.
This is Scriptography Productions' project whereby performance responds to art. Within a 48 hour period, performance makers of all types respond to art and art galleries. This has been a really valuable impetus for new pieces of work, and Replay Me at the Gas Gallery Aberystwyth, Shani Rhys James' Cassandra's Rant at Ceredigion Museum and Tim Shaw's Black Smoke Rising at Aberystwyth Arts Centre have all inspired me to create new works, and a particular theme that has emerged from this is my interest in the interaction of language. Johnny Rollerskate was a character from another place, who sees our society from the viewpoint of an outsider. His English is translated from his own language, and he tries to interpret behaviour in order to fit in. The sadness is, of course, that he stands out because he does not see society as society sees it. Crwban was a short play about someone who is losing words, and who is struggling to make herself understood.