Quick-changing Scrooge

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And so, thanks to A Christmas Carol, I now have another backstage job to add to my theatre resumé.

Because yes, we debuted last Saturday, and it went enormously well, and we’re very nearly sold out until January, and have actual waiting lists… And usually, at this point, I’ve done what I had to do, and can sit back and enjoy the ride, right? Not so this time! Continue reading

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Longlisted!

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In the middle of it all – and by “it all” I mean tech week for my own translation and adaptation of A Christmas Carol, opening this Saturday – I’ve had a lovely surprise: my story was longlisted for the HWA‘s Dorothy Dunnett Award for unpublished short stories… Continue reading

Psychoanalyzing Puck

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So, my own Lunedì is right behind the corner…

The Lunedìs are this series of weekly staged readings centred around a theme – and last year we had Greek Tragedy. And we also had the members of a Psychoanalysis Club following the readings with some sort of analysis and debate. I know it sounds weird – but it worked really well: eager audiences loved the readings and then debated with gusto, and the house was beyond packed for six consecutive Mondays… Continue reading

The Lost and Unlikely Maiden

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dyThe Maiden’s Holiday is a lost comedy, entered in the Stationers’ Register in the early 1650s as “written by Christopher Marlowe and John Day“. Since Day doesn’t appear to have been active as a playwright before 1599 – six years after Marlowe’s death – a later reworking seems far more likely than an actual collaboration, but we cannot tell for sure. The only known manuscript copy belonged to 18th Century antiquarian John Warburton’s collection, that went… er, lost. Continue reading

Ink and Paper Jacobites

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Obviously Scotland does this to me: it sends me on Jacobite tangents. Fictional tangents, mostly – because really, the moment you try a history book, the whole adventure loses much of its shine. Then again, seven decades of intermittent and unsuccessful attempts at restoring a royal line with the dubious aid of a foreign power were bound to be, on the one hand not terribly well organised, and on the other, perfect novel material… I mean: how can you have plenty of exiles headed by a handsome and charming prince, loyal clans, recurring bursts of violence, conspirations, secret messages, toasts to the King Across the Water, songs, divided families, spirited ladies, battles, and an ultimately doomed cause – and not expect an abundance of fiction? And of course, the foremost charm of the Jacobites is that of the doomed and defeated. Would we care very much about them, would we write novels, if they’d won? Continue reading

Autumn Fires

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Autumn!

I cannot say I’ve been waiting for the summer to end… I’m lucky in that heat doesn’t bother me overmuch. Still, I like Autumn when it comes: September, October, the sweetness of the golden light, the first chills, the turning leaves… And, perhaps most of all, the fires. The scent of smoke, the flames seen from afar, glittering in the twilight… Continue reading

Something Else

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And lo and behold! This year November doesn’t take me by surprise – at least, not entirely. This is the time of the year when, as a rule, I discover that oh, there is such a thing as a November, and other, wiser people set down to write first drafts, while I bemoan my inability to do the same, and end up doing… something else.

Well, you know what?

No sudden discoveries, this year – and no bemoaning. Just the something else. I have this play I’m writing on spec… well, I’ve hinted at it a few times with Nina, and she still has to veto the idea, so perhaps, rather than entirely on spec, I’m writing it on some hope. Anyway, I have a completed first draft, and half a notebook’s worth of notes for a second… Continue reading

All the Way to the Theatre – or, the Historical Novelist’s Dilemma

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As I was busy completing the la(te)st revision of my novel before pitching it at the HNS Conference in Scotland, I came across this lovely article at the National Archives Blog.

And so I learned that, while I’d always assumed that people walked to the Theatre via Bishopsgate, Bishopsgate Street and Shoreditch, this was not the case. Not that the Burbages wouldn’t have liked such a straightforward route to their playhouse – but there was opposition from the local landowners – particularly from the Earl of Rutland, who effectively blocked the easy access… Continue reading

Once a Spy…

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Once upon a time, I contacted this American writer, asking about his play featuring Kit Marlowe – published but impossible to find. Because there was no answer, I tried with the publisher: was there any way to get in touch with the author, and/or acquire a copy of the play? Now, you see, I’d done it before – and usually authors are pleased to find someone interested enough in their work to seek them out. Why, I’ve e-met several wonderful people, that way… Continue reading