I have been silent for a while – this is because I was finishing the first draft of the show. It has now gone out to my collaborators, my agent and our producer.
Once it had gone I realised that there was something crucial missing! But I shall save that up and everything else that will filter through in those quiet moments, when I meet the guys next week. They are coming up to work with me, which is really exciting after all these weeks of isolated writing!
I am trying not to think about what my first audience are thinking. I am not looking at the work either. I’m getting on with other things to distract myself. This is a tense moment for all writers – the first exposure of your writing. But I try not to be too precious about it.
Unlike Willy Russell I have never thought that anything I wrote was the finished product before someone else looked at it. I was shocked to hear Mr Russell say he doesn’t do re-writes, at an MMD interview. Perhaps when you are that well known you can slap a script down on a producer’s desk and say do that or I’ll take it away from you. But I still don’t think I would, because I think you gain so much from collaborating with other people, and mixing up ideas, sometimes you come back to your own beginning again, but at least you have tried other ways.
Although it seemingly took only seven weeks to write the book of the show, this is because I had spent a year doing research and working on a really detailed synopsis, even with some dialogue. I had already had meetings with my collaborators and done a lot of re-writes. So when I began work at the cottage it never felt like a blank page. Instead it was a working document that I was bringing to life. This feels like a far less frightening way of working!
I took myself off to Charlecote Park, just outside Stratford, to blow away the cobwebs. It is a beautiful old place, with wild stag and shaggy cows in the grounds. The RSC used a copy of the Medieval gateway to the house as the set for their latest productions of Love’s Labours Lost and Much Ado.