Yes, I know, this is neither tomorrow nor soon, but, well, it was the holidays and things get a little hectic around that time, as everyone knows. So where was I?
Ah, yes, the severed head. Well, one of my very early plays is two-hander one-act entitled “A Familiar Face.” The story centers on two older cockney women and a human head preserved in formaldehyde in a large glass jar, which has been discovered by one of the women in the cupboard under her stairs. I had a (disastrous) staged reading of it in New York some years back, but was later contacted by a theatre group in Killin, Scotland, who wished to perform the play in a regional competition. They were terrific people to deal with and they had a great time with the play, so that was all very nice. Then, a few weeks ago, I was contacted by another group in Scotland, from the Isle of Skye, who also wished to perform the play…in the same regional competition! And again, they are proving to be lovely people to deal with. Then about a week later I was contacted by another group in Scotland, from the Isle of Mull, who wished to perform the play for their local theatre competition. And I’m finding all of this just a little bizarre. On top of this, a few weeks ago I was contacted by a very charming actress, asking for the rights to perform the play on a cruise ship this year! She and her friend had struck a deal with a cruise line to perform drama on board the ship and were looking for one-act plays suitable for two mature women. They begin next month, somewhere off the coast of New Zealand. What a great gig! And I wish very much that I could see them perform it, as they’re both very accomplished actresses (one former RSC, the other former National).
So an odd play for two older performers that I wrote almost 10 years ago has suddenly taken on a life of its own (especially in Scotland). And I’m also realizing that beyond the quirky appeal of the play and its dark comedy, the fact is there really aren’t a lot of short plays for more mature actresses out there…something I will keep in mind for the future, as I love writing parts for older people (all that wealth of experience and potential eccentricity just waiting to be tapped into).