Tagged: writer

Excerpt: Cradle to the Grave


                   LAURA  at the computer. QUILLER comes in.
LAURA        Gillespie. I didn’t expect you so early. How was your sort of date?
QUILLER    She didn’t turn up.
LAURA        Swinging around.  I’m sorry I thought you were – I don’t think you should be                                here.
QUILLER    I don’t think  you should be here.
LAURA        Well I sometimes think that but this is my office and I don’t believe you have
an appointment.
QUILLER    I don’t believe I do. I don’t believe a lot of things any more.
LAURA goes to pick up the telephone
QUILLER    I don’t want you to do that. You’re supposed to be talking to me.
LAURA        What do you want?
QUILLER    I want a doctor.
LAURA        Well you haven’t really come to the right place.
QUILLER    Where do you suggest? The post office.
LAURA        If you require treatment then I suggest -
QUILLER    I form an orderly queue? Stretching several years. Unless of course I’m some                                useless old codger dieing of cancer then I should join a much shorter queue                        outside the morgue. No, I do not require any treatment, I require one doctor,                                      possibly two, definitely two nurses and one porter. And a load of drugs.
LAURA        I think I should call someone. Don’t you.
QUILLER    You’ve got my order. And before you start messing it up. You should know                                          that I’ve got Nye Bevan. Over there. In his hospital.
LAURA         In his – looks out of the window. That hospital is closed. Now I really think -
QUILLER    Then why has it got a patient in it then?
LAURA        A patient?
QUILLER    Who you should be looking after.
LAURA gets up and looks across to the hospital.
LAURA        Is this Mister Bevan, by any chance, having a baby.
QUILLER    No, he’s having a heart attack. Over there. In his hospital. The People’s                                Hospital. Remember it.
LAURA        Yes, I do remember it. Very well .And  I know that there is no one left in it. Not a                   soul. Or if there is they shouldn’t be-
QUILLER    It’s his hospital, course he should be there. Nye Bevan, his foundation, said             so              himself on those steps.
LAURA        Nye Bevan?
QUILLER    Yeh. Heard of him?
LAURA        Yes I believe I have.
QUILLER    Well you’ll know then.You’ll know won’t you. You’ll know all about it.  He told             my              father. On those steps. Do you know my father?
LAURA        I’m sorry I don’t believe I do.
QUILLER    I’m sorry I don’t believe you do. Now he thinks it’s a memorial. Our hospital.                                Probably because he’s dying. His head’s probably full of that stuff. Now if you                            don’t give me a doctor and a nurse and drugs he’s going to die anyway and             I’ll                 give him a memorial.Flowers at midnight Right.
LAURA        Right. Right Mister -
QUILLER    Quiller.But it’s not mister.
LAURA        Right. I don’t have to do this but I will. I will contact A and E for you. They will
investigate. If they discover that it is a fraudelent call you will be charged for                                  the callout and possibly prosecuted. Now, if you  don’t leave this office                                  immediately  I will have you  removed. Picks up telephone Heart attack you                                  say.
QUILLER    That’s Nye Bevan, not my father.
LAURA        Right. Dials. Hello, chief executive  here – yes  – Well I have an emergency for                                 you -  of sorts – Possible incident at the City Hospital – yes I am aware that is                                      closed – so let’s call it an emergency transfer -
            QUILLER cuts her off.
QUILLER.    No. No. Not a transfer. Nobody is being transferred. Not any more. I want                                           doctors,nurses, porters, medication. The works. Over there. Where it belongs.                             Now. Please.
LAURA        Now, I’d like you to listen to me very carefully. I will deal with your request, in                                 my own way. But if you don’t leave this office immediately I will have to call the
police and have you removed forcibly.
QUILLER    You’re not listening to me at all are you. Now if you don’t give me what I want,         I                   will leave this office and I will give you what you want. What you all want.                                Understood?
LAURA        Understood. She picks up the telephone. I’m calling the police.
   QUILLER wrenches it out of its’ socket.
LAURA        That wasn’t very smart was it.
QUILLER    I’m not very smart. I’m very angry.
LAURA        You are in danger of doing something that you regret.
QUILLER    Am I?  Well you’ll have to advise me how to live with it then, cos you must be                                      up  to your neck in it.
LAURA        I think you should know, I want you to know, that I abhor violence.
QUILLER    Well I don’t. I fucking hate it.

About Me

The 2000 L'etape du Tour Carpentras to Mont Ventoux

The 2000 L’etape du Tour Carpentras to Mont Ventoux

For the forty years that constitutes my adult life I have been writing plays, riding bikes and trying to cook the perfect Sunday dinner. I am not sure which has provided the more joy and heartache but somehow writing plays has become my career though I sometimes wonder whether one of the other pursuits may have been more remunerative.

I practice all of these dark arts in Pontypridd, the town in the heart of the South Wales Valleys where I was born and where I have chosen to live. I trained as a teacher in Manchester, before running away to join the theatre as an actor. This was with precious little experience, as the first play I saw, I was also in; but then the first play I went on to write, I also directed, operated the lights and drove the van that transported the set and the actors. This was OVER THE WALL AND BACK AGAIN, a story set in the 1985 miners’ strike about a miner’s wife in the Rhondda running the London marathon. Strangely, this instigated the reverse journey from London, where I was living, back home to South Wales.

For the next twenty five years I followed the well signposted route of received wisdom where you write plays and hand them over to a director.

A route that brought me regular commissions, a few accolades and even some awards. These have included the 2007 Theatre Wales Award for best new play FLOWERS FROM TUNISIA which dealt with dementia and managed in the words of critics, to be both funny and moving, and for radio the Broken and Blue award for my BBC Radio 3 play, I THOUGHT I HEARD BUDDY BOLDEN SHOUT with a soundtrack by Rob Smith and featuring South African trumpeter, Claude Deppa.

Both music and comedy have been prevailing backdrops to all my plays from an octogenarian, black saxophonist in A BLOW TO BUTE STREET for the Sherman Theatre, to three Marianne Faithfulls (who I had the privilege of meeting in Cardiff) in DANGEROUS AQUAINTANCES for Hijinx Theatre.

This fusion of drama and music reached a dizzying height with TORCHBEARERS, a project initiated by local charity, Valleys Kids that linked the Valleys of south Wales with the Townships of Capetown, as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. This involved up to two hundred performers and musicians, with music by Paula Gardiner, in a production that played in the Donald Gordon Theatre in the Wales Millennium Centre and Artscape Theatre in Cape Town in a Co-production with Artscape thanks to the support of Michael Maas and Marlene le Roux. I also did my best to make it funny.

More importantly this was a play where I reclaimed my right to directorship and plotted a different route to the future where I would like to go against the grain and direct my own plays. Of course this will struggle to gain precedence over riding my bike over Welsh mountains while seeking the answer to life’s eternal dilemma. Do Yorkshire puddings have any place alongside roast chicken?