Back from Liverpool last night, after the week's workshop on The May Queen. It was an extraordinary six days, and the end result is I've got a better play. The heatwave made the work more arduous of course, and all credit to the team for staying focused and creative. So thanks and cheers to Craig Cheetham, Meriel Scholfield, Stephen Fletcher, Gillian Kearney, Mark Arends, Neil Caple, Annabelle Dowler and of course Serdar. The piece has really got tighter and at the same time broader, as new dynamics emerged between characters and new scenes suggested themselves, taking shape in improvisations. Some of you will be well familiar with the development workshop, and no doubt have stories good and bad about the process, but this was my first such week and it was a very creative experience, a tremendous workout. I felt very spoiled (seven actors, for a whole week!) and at the same time really challenged.
For reasons that need not detain us, my digs didn't work out so I ended up staying with my sister, who valiantly gave up her bed so I could get proper rest. This meant that my journey to the Playhouse began at Roby station, next door to the hospice where my father died in the last major heatwave, 2003. Spookily apposite, as I began the week by explaining to the actors how I'd come to realise that the impetus behind the play was my anger at Dad's death. Regular readers will know that what I've been trying to do is re-imagine the story of Orestes and Electra for Liverpool during the May blitz, in 1941. I'm way nearer that objective right now, thanks to the beneficence of Liverpool Theatres and the industry of the people named above.
In other news...IT'S A BOY!!