Write Stuff was a brilliant night showcasing new writing talent from six 13-14 year old students from Benfield High School in Newcastle. The six short plays have been developed in partnership with Live Theatre and were performed for the first time by professional actors.
The night was kicked off with Ready for Service, written by Callum Dyer. Callum’s short play explored the relationship between two young brothers and their ongoing sibling rivalry. I felt the eldest’s pain as his little brother got away with murder whilst he couldn’t do right for doing wrong (can you tell I’m the older of two)? If the Xbox had been switched for a pair of shoes it could have easily been my life! The play was funny and exciting; I particularly enjoyed the mixture of seeing the brothers’ reality and their warzone dreamland.
You’re my inspiration by Ellen Davidson was up next. Her play was about a teenage girl infatuated with a boy from school. Actress Natalie Ann Jamieson did a very convincing job of behaving like a crazed One Direction fan with added hormones as she wailed and screeched onstage to her crush. It transpired to be less of a crush and more of an obsession as the stalker teenager got more and more insane as the play went on. It bore a striking resemblance to Stephen King’s Misery as the poor lad was knocked out and held hostage on stage. I asked Ellen what had been her inspiration for writing the play, she told me that her friend had inspired her as she’d been in a similar position … I sincerely hope not to the same extent!
Meg Henry’s High Level Decisions was the third short play to grace Live’s studio stage. We were introduced to two teenage friends who had lost touch over the years. Fatefully reunited, the youngsters were worried they had nothing left in common – as it turned out; they had more in common than they realised. This short play explored the problems that have faced generations of teenagers and no doubt generations to come: fulfilling the expectations parents have of you. The short play saw them examine their lives and their plans for the future and ultimately, these two teenagers were forced to choose between family and living their dreams.
Cross Wire Murder was definitely the most serious play of the six. The phrase “blood is thicker than water” springs to mind when I think of writer Robyn Merrilees’ tense and sinister play. Exploring the relationship of a man sent down for murder and an eager to please police officer desperate to impress her superiors and her family, we were taken on a journey that illustrated just how much one is willing to sacrifice for family.
Molly Toward’s Hunter was bizarre and terrifying! We saw a young, hot celebrity with “great hair” captured by an old school mate, hell bent on seeking cold blooded revenge for the torment he received in school. Amidst the threats of violence and Saw like descriptions of mutilation, there were some great comedy moments as well as silly songs. Definitely a spoof horror in the making!
Cold Tea by Emma Cockburn was a heart-warming short play with added comedy. We were introduced to an old age married couple who were the living definition of “you’re only as young as you feel”. We watched their hilarious games and extreme sports with smiles on our faces and laughed as they bickered for the duration. Finishing with a rather sad twist, this play was both funny and endearing.
A great night had by all, these young writers should be very proud of their achievements.
March Guest Blogger
P.S. I’ve had a brilliant time blogging for Live Theatre this month. It has been a fantastic experience which has given me the opportunity to meet some inspiring and talented people along the way. I’ve seen shows that I wouldn’t usually consider watching and for that I’m very grateful. I’m currently working on a script for my own play and aim to have it finished very soon. I hope Live Theatre has enjoyed having me on board, I look forward to seeing what they have in store for the future and hope they’ll have me back sometime!