An engagement: at the Museum

An engagement

An engagement: at the Museum

The museum is relatively new, but the building historic and highly thought of in terms of grading by the authorities. It’s gold faced clocks hands speak out to the city as a symbol of ancestral culture. They glisten as a focal point from the hills which surround the port city as the low midday sun melts the last of the frosts. She gingerly negotiates her way up the front steps, she has carefully combined kitten heals with tight fit smarter denim’s. Through the red brick arches, she enters the museum. The café stands bright, larger, but higher placed stained glass windows bring colour to the eatery.

Attending many events here previously: drinks receptions, open lectures, exhibitions and varied tours of the Great Victorian structure. Today was busier than expected, it was the first day of the annual literature festival. It had only been running in its current format for several years, perhaps it had started picking up, becoming a noteworthy literary event. Mental note: check website to see what readings and book signings were on later in the week.

These events were not normally as busy, there was a long queue for one of the books to be purchased. The authors must be particularly popular, she will take a closer look, it may be a nice gift for her mother to add to her Christmas presents. Alternatively, a purchase for herself to read over the holiday season as she indulges of the planned solitude of the festivities. Having been on her own for several years now and not liking going to her Mothers to avoid the rest of the family she had spent the last few Christmases isolated in her own pleasure. No obligation to be joyful, simply indulging in the enjoyment of downtime and the pleasure of her own company. Things had been worse before this, the traditional Christmas ‘Barney’ followed by his continual lack of appreciation of her culinary efforts left her with little desire to cook or celebrate on Christmas day.

‘Good’, he wasn’t here yet, she thought to herself. After ordering a coffee she moved to the quieter side of the café. She fixes her hair and checks her make-up on the subtle reflection of the menu holder. The collar of her blouse needed smoothing out slightly, she had gone for a botanic style print. Combined with a snug fit leather jacket, she was officially smart-casual, off work but nicely attired. They had arranged to meet here as they shared similar interests in the museum. Through the week they both worked in varies building scattered around the vicinity of the red-bricked foundation. She sipped her latte, they could perhaps they could share a bottle of wine over lunch, she thought to herself. Mental note: not to drink too much or to indulge in an extra glass of wine or three.

As he enters she waves subtly, his is flush-faced and freshly showered, looking like he had been out jogging that morning. He is carrying several bags from the toy empire and a sports shop. Slipping the bags down, he pecks her on the cheek and smiles as he compliments her appearance.

 

An Engagement: at the Museum is a flash fiction works from Alison Little. She may develop the prose into a short story or potentially the opening of a novel in 2020.

24 Hour Playwrighting

A3 24hour copy

The 24 hour hour play is returning to Lark Lane as part of Liverpool Fringe Festival.

At 10pm on Friday night, the Old Police station on Lark Lane is aligned with 6 writer, 6 producers and 24 actors. They are grouped together:

1 writer + 4 actors + 1 director

We have creative micro clusters and that will, if nothing else, guarantee fireworks! Over the next 24 hours the play must be written, the lines must be learned, the process must be directed, and finally, it must be performed.

This year, writer, Irene Stuart returns to the creative chaos of the 24 hour play, we catch up with her about playwrighting and her plans for slumber-time scribbling:

So Irene, it’s you second year of writing for the 24 hour play, can you tell us a little more about last years event?

Last year’s event was definitely exciting. Staying up all night, writing a play from scratch and then seeing it performed, all in 24 hours was amazing.

We all turned up in Lark Lane for 10pm on the Friday, names were drawn from a hat and I was lucky enough to draw two wonderful female actors: Gemma and Hayley, Margaret Connell was drawn as the director. I arrived home around 12pm and immediately started to write. I came up with a spin on a dating show and called it Mr Loverman, a comedy. The actors really got into their roles and the audience were very appreciative. I was amazed at the quality of all of the writing and how quickly all of the actors had learned their lines, there was no script in hand and as far as I could tell, no fluffing of lines. It was a great experience and one I’m looking forward to reprising on 12th/13th April.

Was it simply a matter of getting home from Lark Lane then churning out dialogue or did the idea’s generation process take you into the early hours of the morning?

I’m quite lucky really as I can think on my feet and the idea just came to me the minute I sat down at the computer. It was the drafting, then redrafting which took the time and I wanted to give the actors something to get their teeth into while making the lines short and sharp given the short time span they had to learn them.

Have you worked with any of the actors, crew or director again since last year? Did you develop the ‘Mr Loverman’ scratch further or re-visit the theme?

I contacted both actors a month or so after Mr Loverman as I had written a play about a female who had been the victim of a serious sexual assault. I thought both actors would be perfect for two of the roles. Unfortunately they were both performing in other plays. I see the director regularly as she is the artistic director of Lantern Writers of which I’m a member. I haven’t done anything further with Mr Loverman as I’ve been involved in a number of other projects. You have now however inspired me to revisit it and perhaps perform it again.

Great, now there are to be some changes this year, the newspaper article as a start point is to be abandoned and the actors have been asked to bring props. How do you envisage this alter the play writing process and what was the first prop which you imagined being brought into the Old Police Station?

When Sam (Lead Co-ordinator, Liverpool Fringe Festival) mentioned this year’s change, I imagined a wooden prop of some kind, I don’t know why, perhaps a yard brush with a wooden handle? I don’t think adding a prop to the script will prove problematic as the play doesn’t have to be written around it, it just has to appear in it at some point.

Wood, fantastic, I was thinking elephant, but that’s irrelevant. Have you any idea’s about an outline or theme for the performance or is it simply a matter of waiting for performers, props and likely pandemonium before you can make any decisions?

Hopefully nobody will bring an elephant! Sam said there is no theme, I suppose that’s good as we’ll have to start from scratch like last year. It all depends on which actors you’re given and whether your brain is in gear to come up with something worth performing. That’s what makes it both challenging and fun.

The 24 hour play will be performed:

Saturday 13th April 2019

Lark Lane Community Centre

Tickets £7 (Concessions £5)

To Book

More about Liverpool Fringe Festival

Not to be missed!