After our Maid in Kent show at the Horsebridge, (on a very soggy and grey day in Whitstable) we held a quick and intimate Q+A with the cast and writers. This led to quite a wide ranging and interesting discussion about writing and acting and so we plan to hold Q+As at selected future She Writes.
Here are some of the questions and answers covered in the Q+A.
Where do the writers start writing?
Some plan it or just launch into it and see where the story goes.
What sort of format is best for the actors/director?
As few stage directions as possible – so they can work it out themselves. This is something that the writers confessed they found hard to do at first.
Do female writers feel obliged to put in roles for women?
The characters just come out – but some do feel obliged to put in more roles for women. One of our writers has been accused of not writing for women, and that she feels that men’s roles are easier to write. This is perhaps because we have been brought up watching drama that focusses on men’s stories – so we are all more familiar with the language and sound of the male voice.
The majority of the scripts received for She Writes have more female characters in them than men, so women certainly are writing roles for women – though we have received some wonderful roles for men too.
One solution to the lack of roles for women in drama that has recently been suggested is to have gender-blind casting. She Writes does a lot of gender-blind casting which works really well on some roles, though not on all.
What do actors like in a script?
An open script that they can interpret. Good writing to allow them to create a character. The actors liked the fact that She Writes puts on a lot of scripts that are not traditional (or stereotypical) in the roles for women.
Is it hard for a writer to give up their script?
For some it was – for others not. You have to trust that the actors and director are going to interpret your script and hand it over.
Several actors have now interpreted some of the plays/roles more than once and each put their own stamp on it. There are clues in the writing as to how the part should be played. Also when the plays are acted the indefinable thing in the script comes out.
*The next She Writes is on 12 September at the Horsebridge Centre. The topic is art. Though we won’t be running a Q+A at this one, there may be surprises! (And probably sweets!)