It’s getting messy …

“No more rewrites please! … My script is in a terrible mess,” that was the plea from one of the cast after another had asked for some changes. “Just noticed you have changed some lines in the last scene.  I am learning this scene now so I hope this isn’t going to change any more?” That was the plea from the actor who had, er, asked for the changes in the first place.


The scripts are in a terrible mess due to the amount of stains from coffee, alcohol and curry. Well after this photo anyway. And nothing to do with rewrites

The rewrite was meant to be just one line. But as soon as I changed the wording I realized it would have an impact elsewhere in the play…so had to make some further very minor (to me) tweaks.

Then, of course, the lines mulched down in my brain for 24 hours after which I felt the need to revisit the script. Oh dear. A play is an organic living thing. Twisting and changing as the ensemble help to improve the end product. But clearly there comes a time when this has to stop. And I have been told in quite plain terms: “We have to be off the book so we need the script locked down.”

That’s fine. Stop giving me feedback – it’s like giving me plant food for my brain, keeping the imagination fertile. Oh, how the lines sound better! A tweak here, a tweak there but then I’m not the one learning them… And the cast are doing a brilliant job.

Still it’s quite a relief to stop looking at the script and thinking – Franken the Banken, the villain … ooh Bob Diamond…Diamond’s aren’t for ever, for ever…Diamond geezer… But then headline writers over here have already thought of those so I had to resist – God it was hard – to write in another topical bank gag.

I had been warned against topical gags. “They keep changing – and go out of date,” a wise cartoonist had said to me. And now I’m paying that price of disregarding such pearls (diamonds?) of wisdom. So this is it, then. Four weeks or so to go until Camden Fringe and no more bloody rewrites. Except at rehearsal last night, a line wasn’t working. And the cast said more or less in unison: “Can we have that word change by Friday?”

July 12, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Blogging, Comedy, Comedy writing, Humour, Publishing, Theatre.


  1. Mark replied:

    Playwrights write plays. Actors perform them. Letting the latter demand a series of changes is a recipe for a dog’s dinner.

    You always have the option of throwing your rattle out the pram. Just tell them you’ve written it and that’s that.

    • WomanBitesDog replied:

      It’s funny, though, when you hear the lines out loud with actions, you can see whether they work or not. Everyone’s input has been invaluable. Thanks for the comments

  2. Carl D'Agostino replied:

    People are never satisfied. Hmmm. People love discontent. Hmmm. People insist in being contrary. Hmmm…….

    • WomanBitesDog replied:

      It’s all part of the rich tapestry of putting on the best show we can.

  3. Christy Farmer replied:

    Sending best wishes you have a great show. 🙂

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