Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Writer's seminar

I was almost out the door and on the home run when the nerves ambushed me. This resulted in mutterings of 'too much coffee you see, too early in the morning, empty stomach . . blah . . . . blah . .' and a further three visits to the loo.

Then into the car loosening the seat belt so that it didn't press on my bladder. I spent the journey with my brain zizzzing all over the place (hehehe see LixTroll the spell check doesn't like zizzzing either . . squiggle) . . and going hot and cold – mind you I blame the heated seats in the gas guzzler for that. Pins and needles in the fingers, cold hands, garage stops for the loo. It was all getting seriously out of proportion. No sympathy from strong silent husband type person, or maybe he couldn't get a word in edgeways! I realised after a while there was this incessant irritating gibbering noise in the car and it was me.

All this self inflicted cruelty was because I was on my way to a play-write seminar hosted by the SCDA (Scottish Community Drama Association) and the Playwrights' Studio Scotland.

No I am not a play-write. I am a tentatively, maybe, possibly, perhaps one day aspiring play-write. The seminar was aimed at tentatives like me and up to the real, full blown thing. Cool eh in the same room as real play-writes.

The nerves exploded because I knew we were going off into workshops at some point and it occurred to me that in our groups we would be expected to stand up, say our name and a bit about ourselves. AAAAGGGGHHHH I hate and I mean really hate doing this. As it gets nearer to my turn – every time - the heart starts leaping about. My hands get all clammy, I suspect they suck the moisture from my mouth which has of course gone ash dry. My throat closes up. I get ringing in my ears, I feel dizzy and sick and the instant it is my turn I can't remember my own name or speak coherently. So I end up babbling hesitantly, going red, giggling and sitting down. Whereupon I am faced with sea of sympathetic indulgent faces. B*****r I did it again.

So I got to the Seminar sat through the opening bits and then off into the workshops. Mine hosted by Chris Hannon – a real play-write. Gasp. Oh Gulp. And he didn't, he didn't make us stand up and say our names etc. It was much, much, MUCH worse than that. We got divided into groups – five people to a group and all given the same beginning and end of a fairy story and told to act it out – some groups the beginning and some the end. Mind blowing panic! What is going on? I love acting. I am a member of our local drama club I have been in Panto's, One Act competition plays before adjudicators, even been on tour. I get nervous yes . . but usually I get weeks, sometimes months to hone my nerves. Not this time, not like this, not just dropped on me. Burble Wurble, giggle! The first two groups did their play – good – then we all discussed what we'd seen, what it meant, the meaning of life. I needed the loo. Then that was it. Only two groups out of five got to do their play. I sat for two hours a smouldering, hyperactive, twitching bundle of loo needing nerves and I didn't get to do my piece. What was my reaction to this. I was irrationally disappointed, yes really disappointed. And there was a queue for the loo.

The rest of the Seminar was less exhausting and thoroughly enjoyable and it was done more as open discussion sessions with panels of speakers and question time – no more work shop groups. It was a pleasure to be amongst and chat with writing types. Also at one point I noticed that the walls of our venue were actually padded! From then on I relaxed. I now felt very much at home!

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