It's worth pondering the fact above because it's relevant that one of the world's most bankable actors has never been honoured by the industry for his work.
Anyway, it stuck in my head while I've been struggling over the past few weeks to rewrite a play which was put before an audience a couple of years ago as a script-in-hand performance, and had unanimously positive feedback from the audience and the actors performing it.
So why the rewrite? We’ll if I want to submit it to a theatre it needs to be more…well…theatrical or it just won’t be taken seriously.
So what does that mean? Well it seems that despite years of comments about theatre turning off audiences with impenetrable political issue-driven plays, if you want to be taken seriously by theatre professionals that’s what you need to be writing and putting out there.
So I’m at a decision point. The plays I’ve written and put on stage have all received extremely positive feedback from audiences. My plays for kids have been seen by over half a million children, and some have been touring constantly for over twenty years to rave reviews. I’ve made a decent living from my writing, and I’m now teaching and mentoring a new generation of writers.
But that’s not classed as success. As far as the theatre world is concerned I am a nobody, and in order to become a recognised talent I would need to drastically alter my writing style and to produce work that is designed to satisfy the tiny number of theatre folks who decide what is worthy, rather than simply engaging audiences.
So rant over, and decision made. If I want to keep paying the bills and doing what I love, I don’t think I’ll be winning any awards in the near future, but I will be putting something on in a theatre near you sometime soon which will leave you feeling happy, entertained, and hopefully like you’ve been transported to another world for a short while.
Isn’t that what good theatre should be?
And I'm not the only person saying this. Playwright Anthony Neilson said this ages ago