REELING - A play by Sean Gregory

REELING - A play by Sean Gregory
art by Angela Guyton (Click on image for artists website)

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Pre REELING - The Back Story

1. Where did you get the idea for the play from and how has it developed?

There were several threads that all led to the creation of Reeling. The catalyst was a conversation I had with Joel Clements, the sound and lighting designer and all around technical man on Reeling. He told me about a project he was putting together using Ambisonics - which is basically very accurate surround sound. I had the idea of recording performances and then, playing these back, having live actors engage with them. I had the idea, just didn't know who they were, or why they were doing it. Last year, I had a one page play on at the Hotbed festival, Cambridge, called Melks. Melks, a loner, had recorded his next door neighbour, and would play back her words again and again, replying to her differently every time, as to change her meaning. Melks stuck with me, as did the idea of him recording the people next door.
Later in the year, I attended a theatre workshop with Jack Bradley, who asked everyone to come up with an idea for a one act play - something that frightens you - during lunch. So, the idea came of two sisters listening back to tapes of their lives that Melks has recorded. The idea of your neighbour recording your whole life seemed pretty nightmareish to me, and finding the tapes seemed even worse.
I spent a lot of time thinking about the sisters, I wrote short stories about them, and wrote lots of scenes between them. My laptop is awash with pages of Jude and Alice, every major moment in their lives charted.

2. Have you ever had a play in 24:7 Theatre Festival before? What made you apply again? And if not, what prompted you to submit this year?

I had a play on last year (Donal Fleet: A Confessional). That was the first play I'd ever written; I felt like I'd learnt so much through the rewriting, rehearsing and, especially, seeing the play performed, that I wanted to write another piece for 24:7. However, this wasn't it! I thought the play may have too many technical issues for 24:7. With fifteen minutes to set-up and take-down, you really need to think carefully about set design, lighting etc, with 24:7. That's the fantastic thing about the festival though. We've rethought the play, and tried to come up with an interesting way to stage it. 24:7 is such an exciting festival, and I'm so pleased to be a part of it again. Everyone involved in the festival really wants to make it the best it can be, and that comes from David and Kathryn right through to front of house staff, so it's a joy to participate.

3. What are your ambitions as a writer? And your ambitions for this play?

I'd love to see the play tour, and that's something we'll be looking into in the not to distance future. Having set up a theatre company of our own to put on Reeling, I'd like to write more stageplays under the Piece of Work banner. I've already got a few more ideas in the pipeline. Through 24:7 I've met some lovely actors, and I'd really like to write a play for some of them, specifically (I've already started writing it, actually).

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