I suppose it is inevitable that quite a lot of unsolicited items and material come my way. It goes with the territory if you write regularly anywhere. Hopefuls frequently send me books, DVDs, videos, play scripts - much of it awful stuff - and desperate pleas for advice about everything from how to get into drama school to how to get your work published. Although I do my best to be constructive - and hey I’m English so politeness is programmed in - there isn’t much I can do for most of these wannabes. So I am not, definitely not, inviting more. I am unlikely, please note, to be able to help. The sad truth is that my sphere of influence is nothing like as great as some of you (and perhaps I) would like it to be and the industry we’re working in, or trying to, is fiercely competitive.
Nonetheless sometimes something just catches my eye - tentatively. The latest, which arrived while I was on holiday last week is the text by Alvin Luffman of a short (5,500 words) one man play/monologue on which the influence of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads is clear. I liked the cheeky title ‘The Angina Dialogue’ so I read it. The central character is an old man sitting reminiscing by his hospital bed waiting for his son to come and take him home. There are eight acts. Actually - although his material is presented circa 1942 style and I suspect he doesn’t own a computer because the work is handwritten, photocopied and spiral bound - Mr Alvin has got quite a strong handle on the voice and attitude of his Archie Snatchpole. In places it made me giggle aloud and in the hands of a skilled director and good actor it could, just could, make workable theatre. Mr Alvin tells me in his covering letter that he could rework it as a female role if required.
If you are, for example, a student looking for a low budget show or showcase material, or a radio or TV producer (which is, of course, what Mr Luffman would really like) wanting new, gentle, but perspicacious material, this could, at least, be worth your looking at. Contact me if you’re interested and I’ll put you in touch with the playwright. Leave a message here, a phone message at The Stage (020 7403 1818) or Direct Message me (SusanElkinJourn) on Twitter.