by Pete Gibson who plays Randall Nolan in BLEEDING WITH MOTHER.
Everyone from Carrie Fisher to Sigourney Weaver and William Shatner has reprised a role.
In the case of Captain Kirk there was a ten year gap between his first appearance on the Star Trek television series and his starring role in the franchise’s first feature film. The magic was still there but then so was the melodrama (sorry Bill, I prefer Walter Koenig).
Why would an actor return to a character? We’re an itchy footed transient lot after all, always looking for a fresh challenge.
Unfinished business may be one reason. That was certainly the case for Sigourney who ratcheted-up Ripley from one of the gang to the central iconic character in the Aliens series. I reckon she also wanted to see what she looked like with a Servalan type skinhead (wonder if it made her want to moon stomp?)
When returning to the same script, there is also the rare luxury of getting another go at a character, enhancing it, finding something new in it. Though be warned, even a small gap between productions renders the older mind incapable of recalling lines at an instant!
So here I am facing the prospect of playing Randall Nolan again in Sarah Cassidy’s “Bleeding with Mother” and doing the hard yards with the script in anticipation of performing it again at the King’s Arms Salford (Saturday 10th September).
I am determined to find more in this my third shot at the role (I rehearse read it a couple of years of the role). Polish, improvement and something new is what I am aiming at. But there is another good reason for my reprising Randall:
I just want to.
Bleeding with Mother is a very contemporary play about modern life. But it also transcends time in its themes of death, greed and relationships – issues since the birth of humankind. It also has an old fashioned sense of character, stagecraft and plot. Farcical and comic yes, yet structured and telling a STORY – qualities that are missing from so many plays of today.
This is a play that deserves to be seen again. And in the case of Randall, a lost and bullied soul, displaced and out-of-step with modern life, the subject of working class men’s mental health bears another examination.
They say never go back. But hey, faced with a character on the cusp of an emotional crisis but still able to laugh about farting corpses and nosey neighbours was just too good an opportunity to miss.
See you in Salford.
Bleeding with Mother is staged at the King’s Arms Theatre Salford on Saturday September 10th – doors open 7pm. Tickets are available from http://www.wegottickets.com/event/366987
The play text is also available via this link on Amazon.
Bleeding with Mother will be produced by the newly formed M62 Productions.
It wasn’t the cough that carried her off, it was the coffin that carried her off ‘in.
BLEEDING WITH MOTHER written by Sarah Cassidy
My debut stageplay Bleeding with Mother will be laid to rest in May 2016.
Staged in my hometown of Manchester, Bleeding with Mother is an opus kitchen sink drama meets farce as in true Catholic tradition, Sally-Ann Nolan’s coffin is laid out in her home the night before her funeral. There follows a séance, IVF troubles, a hidden fortune, interfering neighbours and some missing Russian dolls.
This black comedy stars Louise Wilson (Doe and Hollyoaks) Pete Gibson (East of Heysham, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and Prey) and Dave Jordan (Various fringe productions and The Actor’s Lab showcase, The Lowry). Audiences will also be introduced to Sheffield Crucible actor, Jennifer Derbyshire.
Tickets are on sale from 5064 Productions and priced at £6 or £5, cheaper than a pint of lager and a packet of crisps (well in town centre ale houses any road).
We’ll be playing at three locations across Manchester, but we’d really love it if folk would come to either the Joshua Brooks or Nexus Art Cafe nights as they’ll be a reet good laugh.
Tour details are:
Saturday 21st May – 2pm at Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW
Sunday 22nd May – 2pm at Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW
Friday 27th May – 7.30pm at Joshua Brooks, 106 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6NG
Saturday 28th May – 7.30pm at Nexus Arts Cafe, 2 Dale Street, Manchester, M1 1JW
So come and bid ‘Big Sal’ a fond farewell as we join Randall, Carol, Sicknote Sheila and Doug as they bid her a final farewell, and remember that GREAT HUMOUR HAS THE SNIFF OF DEATH ABOUT IT……
Station Road is a continuing radio drama about life in a fictitious and gritty Manchester street. Not only do the characters work and live on Station Road but there is also a public house, café, urban farm and a corner shop.
Hearing the scripts come alive for the first time on Saturday was quite simply marvellous. A couple of the writers, myself included were interviewed live in the studio at ALL FM prior to the episode being aired.
The episode was played mid-interview, and it was pretty special not only hearing our scripts come to life but we also have a theme tune. An actual catchy theme tune that we’ve since been humming in our script meetings.
A surreal moment yesterday as I left work to drive to the weekly Station Road writers meeting, the pilot was played out again during ALL FM’s Drivetime show and as I sat in traffic, I felt such pride listening to the scene that I wrote
It’s been a while since I wrote about how I am finding being part of the writers group for the radio soap.
Twelve months on and we are a core of six writers, meeting weekly and we have currently written 168 scenes on our brand new community radio soap opera.
It has been an organic process to get to where we are. Twelve months ago there were fifteen writers at the very first session and to be honest it would have been chaos if it had continued to be that number, and I’m not sure that I would have been in it for the long haul either.
As the initial weeks passed by a writer would stop coming to the meetings until we found it to be the same six writers that would turn up each week.
This was a good number of people to have involved in the process. It meant that we were able to really get to grips with the characters that we created, the world that the soap is set in and without a large number of people to get their point across meant that storylining is more of less a discussion rather than a battle.
Within the team there are various expert areas. A stand-up comedian, a short story professional, an actor, a novice and a radio writer/presenter. With our diverse backgrounds I think we get the best from our characters and we all more or less write our scenes with the same tone, and voice.
Our weekly meetings consist of reading through the previous weeks scenes. This is my favourite part as it’s enjoyable hearing the characters come to life and from something that we’d discussed briefly during story lining to actually having full scenes which feed into the overall soap feels like an accomplishment.
The writer of the scene to be read aloud has to talk briefly about the scene, where the conflict is and what is the change from the beginning to the end of the scene. Some scenes are harder than others to do this.
After the read throughs, we then look into the stories for the next week. Where our characters are up to in terms of their story lines and which characters are needed to assist in developing the story further.
We’ve been a writing group for a year now and it has passed really quickly. The actors were cast before Christmas and recordings are made each week. It’ll be really good to finally hear it on air though, something that I am looking forward to.
A number of things that I have learned from my experience of being part of a collaborative group of writers.
• Discussions amongst more than one person can generate a raft of ideas.
• If a character hasn’t got a solid back-story and biog then writers can really struggle when it comes to putting that character under conflict. It’s important that this is nailed down at the very start of introducing this character otherwise it never seems believable.
• Drop-box is a valuable tool for sharing ideas and scripts.
• Being part of a writing team keeps you motivated. We meet on a Monday night and on several occasions when I’ve had a really tough day at work, what I’ve really wanted to do is go home to rest. Knowing that there are five people relying on you means that you have to attend. I’ve never been to a meeting and not come away feeling motivated again.
• Being taught to listen to others and let go of your own great ideas if the group decide that something else works better.
• Learning to compromise and not feel precious about an idea.
I’m sure there will be more to blog about as the year progresses.
Once I get the official airtime date I will ensure I update this site.
Get out of your comfort zone and do something that terrifies you. That’s a healthy motto – right?
One of the aspects of my MA which challenged me the most was the collaborative group project in semester two.
An eight part radio drama where I worked with seven other writers and devised a radio serial with a forty-five minute episode written by each member of the team.
It was a challenge to say the least. Not only a divide in age and gender, but also in sense of humour. We spent most of the semester arguing about the serial storyline and at the last meeting still hadn’t nailed it down fully.
Firstly it’ll be great to get my writing on the radio again, secondly it will be good for the CV if I can show that I’ve worked as part of a writing team in a professional context, and thirdly if I don’t have someone giving me strict deadlines I fear that my writing will only occur when meeting competition deadlines.
This project is at the very beginning of becoming a radio soap opera, and with a team of twelve writers we won’t all get commissioned to write an episode. Which mirrors real life on a television soap opera too.
Last night was the first get together of this new writing team, and I thought I would blog about the journey from inception to writing that first episode.
The writing team is a diverse group of local people from Manchester who are a mix of volunteers at the radio station, writers and others who just want to get involved in this thrilling project.
We began the session by reading aloud a couple of short radio scripts. When asked for volunteers there was an uncomfortable silence so I put my hand up. Reading scripts out loud doesn’t phase me anymore as I’ve had two and a half years of doing this week in week out.
We were then given a large selection of photographs of people which had been cut out from newspapers and magazines. A range of ages, gender and ethnicity were covered and each of us chose one picture. Mine was a woman in her mid-twenties in a yoga pose. I thought I could have a lot of fun in creating her character as she looked quite chilled and peaceful.
My aim is to make my character the least stereotype for that particular image which is what I did when writing her character biography.
Other groups worked together on each of the characters, but the group that I was put in we worked solo and then shared our ideas. I found this approach better as the least conflict at the early stages the better.
Briefly we then came up with a long list of places that would be featured in our make shift soap opera world. Pub, café, library, bridge, park and pound shop were just a few of the suggested places that would feature in our community.
We also need to name our community in the upcoming weeks.
It’s certainly exciting to be part of something new creatively, and of course getting to know new people in this context is something that I find beneficial. Who knows, today community radio – tomorrow the writing team on House of Cards!
It’s the easy option, isn’t it? Write what you know, but it’s always a challenge to write about what you don’t know.
I’m only just starting out as a scriptwriter so it makes sense at the moment to write about what I know. First hand experience about a topic is like a nugget of gold as it means that emotions, knowledge and it being realistic will be key to the script.
At the same time I would love to develop my writing further which I know will attract a lot of research going into it prior to writing.
Working full-time limits the amount of time that can be spent researching, and add onto that a part-time degree. But, it’s not impossible and the internet and books provide a wealth of information on all kinds of topics.
This blog prompt made me take a few minutes to dig deep and think about what I do know that I could write about. Like everybody else we all have experiences, sometimes positive and some negative that could be turned into a story.
My current project takes on a vast amount of my life experiences within the context of the six-parts. When the characters were created some of them were based on actors, characters in other dramas and real life people. Some characteristics in the three main characters come from myself, either when I was a teenager and to how I am as a parent to a teenager.
Writing for female characters is also less of a challenge than writing male ones for the obvious reason. But living with three males offers it’s own research as I often will pass bits of dialogue and plot between them and ask if “would that really happen to a man?” However, I can see the benefit of having a writing partner from the opposite sex as both points of view can come through in the writing of certain characters.
Back to my current project, write what you know! The set is based around my nana’s home when she was alive.
I loved the fact that everybody on the estate knew who my nana was. She never locked her door during the day and folk would walk into her house to see her.
I recall during my rebellious teenage years being “chatted up” (am sure it’s not called that now – I must ask the teenager). Anyway I was chatted up by a young man in a nightclub who lived on the same estate as her. It’s a huge estate in Preston, and he lived at the opposite end but he still knew who my nana was – the woman was a legend! I wish I had known that back then and appreciated her more.
The concept of being part of a tight community is what prompted me to write the project.
I couldn’t tell you the names of my neighbours where I live, yet back when I was a child everybody knew everybody in the area. It would be nice to live in a community like that again.
I guess most writing comes from writing what you know, and it sure is fun to make up the other bits.
This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.