Pick your favourite play from this month so far, check the word count and divide it by two. Edit your play to the new word count, but only delete and do not add anything new.
One of my favourites for this month was Challenge 22, where we had to create a piece of Fan Fiction. My play was entitled Curtain Call, which is a small spin-off of the David Hare play Amy’s View, with the characters of Toby and Frank meeting. The original word count was 2,296 meaning the new word count needs to be 1,148.
As I went through the play the first time I found it very easy to cut a lot of Chuffa out of the original script, which made me realize it was nowhere near as good as I first thought. However once I reached the end of the play I still had about 800 words to shave off, which was a lot harder to do without losing character and story, so it basically meant going through it with a fine tooth comb. Managed to finally get it down.
Lights up – A Theatre Bar
At the side of the bar there are posters and displays from the show entitled Moonlight Escape.
The bartender Lucy comes over.
Lucy: What’ll it be?
Toby: Beer please.
She begins to pour him a pint, he sits.
Lucy: Good show tonight?
Toby: Yeah thanks.
Lucy: You got anything else lined up?
Toby: Should do shouldn’t I?
Lucy hands him a pint
Lucy: There you go Toby.
Frank grabs his program and hastily flicks through.
Frank: You’re Toby Cole. I enjoyed your performance tonight.
Frank: I don’t think I’ve seen you on stage before.
Toby: Aside from school plays, this is my first time treading the boards, in a professional sense. It is pretty amazing- I feel like I’ve lucked out so soon in my…career? I guess I can call it that? I have to pinch myself every second before the show opens. To work with Esme Allen is reason alone to be excited.
Frank finishes his Whiskey.
Did you want another?
Frank: I thought it was customary for the audience to buy the cast a drink?
Toby: I don’t mind.
Frank: Not bad etiquette is it? I know what you theatre types are like with your rules and superstition.
Toby: Tell me about it. I found out that it’s bad luck to whistle back stage. Something to do with Naval workers being stage hands or something and if you whistle then something will fall on your head. Hey Lucy, a Whiskey please.
He hands over some money.
Lucy pours a Whiskey.
Frank: Splendid. Well here’s to… not whistling and buying the audience a drink.
Toby: Just don’t tell everyone that, we’re not on the West End.
Frank: You’re still getting paid right?
Toby: Yeah we do get paid, just not as much. Long as I can eat and drink then it’s all fine with me. To say I get to do this for a living now, any kind of living, is enough for me.
Frank: I suppose they must pay that lead actress quite a lot?
Toby: You’d think wouldn’t you, being a T.V star, but so long as there is a strong female part, that’s all that matters to Esme.
Toby: She doesn’t care much about money. She does it for the love of the stage. You can tell in her performance. Acting alongside her is pretty amazing.
Frank: She is amazing.
Toby: What was your name?
Frank: Frank Oddie.
Toby: Nice to meet you Frank
I’ve got this. What you having?
Toby: Still on my first thanks.
Frank: Well what are you having after it?
Toby: I haven’t thought that far ahead.
Frank: Another beer?
Toby: I probably shouldn’t to be honest. Busy day tomorrow, with the final performance.
Frank: Suit yourself. Another whiskey.
Lucy pours him one
What have you got next up your sleeve? You’ve whole career ahead of you. There must be something on the horizon
Toby: I don’t know. Haven’t really had the time to think about it. Bit far in the future to-
Frank: -It’s the day after tomorrow. Time is running out. What is it you want to do? More theatre, the West End, Television – Film even?
Toby: I did meet Dominic Tyghe.
Toby: Aww I should have made more of an effort to impress him.
Frank: What did you do?
Toby: I imitated getting shot and my skull exploding. It’s a scene from his latest film.
Frank: A bit too violent for my taste.
Toby: I probably messed up my chance to be in any of his films, after pratting about – I met him backstage the other night.
Frank: There to see Esme?
Toby: Yeah, I came in after- Wait… how did you-
Frank: -Oh I-er you know, all you luvvie types all know one another don’t you?
So… what about Esme, Has she got any big projects lined up?
Toby: A fan by any chance?
Frank: Something like that.
Toby: She’s been asked to stay on with this theatre for another season for their next show- they had a part for an older- I er… I mean a character of Esme’s… you know? And she’s always going on about the theatre having no parts for woman.
And then when she gets offered another play, straight after this one (He chuckles), she turned it down because “it’s not the right part.”
Frank: Impossible, absolutely impossible.
Toby: Do you know her at all?
Frank: I did know her.
Toby: Oh…friends? Married?
Frank: Ha! Sadly not. I never had the honour but… I don’t know…What’s she like now?
Toby: A bit quiet but… what was she like… before?
Frank: Oh she was… she was Esme, I don’t think I can describe her in any other way. She never mentioned me? You didn’t recognise my name earlier-
Toby: –Oh wait I mean– erm she… Wait your last name – Odd – Oddie. I think- erm Frank Oddie, yeah I think- She must have… I think she mentioned something and yeah-
Frank: -Don’t humour me.
Toby: What happened?
Frank: I proposed. That’s enough to make any woman turn against me, the prospect of marrying me, haha. I didn’t seem to get the message first time round. So I kept asking…again…and again…and again, until eventually- I had to ask a few more times – then eventually… I asked a few more times until she gave in: “oh go on then!” Unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be. Well, obviously it wasn’t or I would not be here. It’s OK, I don’t know of it was ever real. I think I was more probably more in love with the idea of her than her as….I don’t know. Seemed like a dream come true, well I imagine it is. Not many people can say– or at least it would be a dream of any man to have a beautiful, talented and utter delight of an actress on your arm…she was a delight… I think maybe I should call it a night. Do pass on my… Well what I-I… I mean is… (Sighs) Good luck for the rest of the shows.
Toby: You’re supposed to say break a leg.
Frank: Another theatrical superstition?
Toby: We’re having an after show tomorrow if you fancied?
Frank: Oh…thank you I-
Toby: I’m sure Esme would love to see you again
Frank: I very much doubt that.
Toby: I’m sure she would be happy to see you. So long as… you don’t propose again.
Frank: You would think I would have learnt after the first…second, even the fifth rejection wouldn’t you? But I wasn’t one to back down, that’s just what I am… an old fool. Well it was lovely to talk to you and…break a leg.
Toby: You too.