Last week in Westminster a group of people were listening keenly to the words being spoken, giving their undivided attention to the drama unfolding before them, and when they got the chance, asking incisive, intelligent questions.
No, this wasn’t in the House of Commons (alas), but in the hall of Harris Westminster Sixth Form College – located in a former Ministry of Justice building a stone’s throw from Parliament – where the first performance in 2019 was taking place of This Evil Thing, my play about Britain’s WW1 conscientious objectors. Continue reading
Nov 6th 2018
I’m on the road again and this time I’ve been given a brand new red Citroen van by the hire company, which unlike my previous vans has central locking (rather useful when loading and unloading crates and all my other paraphernalia.)
Three Quaker Meeting Houses in the north of England are my destination in the first week of this significant November 2018 tour, but it’s rain and tedious first gear traffic all the way up the M6 to arrive a tad wearily at Kendal in Cumbria for the first performance.
A most significant month – 100 years since the ending of ‘the war to end all wars’- (hmm, what went wrong there?) – and a month that sees me setting out on the road all round the UK with my play THIS EVIL THING: as far north as Aberdeen and as far south as Brighton. Two London performances are taking place on November 4th and 7th – all details can be found on the Performance Dates page of this website – thank you!
I was in Tavistock Square, London, yesterday August 6th, at the very moving ceremony to remember those who died in Hiroshima 73 years ago as a result of the first Atomic bomb. This Thursday, August 9th, I hope to be in Battersea Park to witness the floating lanterns released into the Thames in memory of those who died at Nagasaki, also 73 years ago. I have been working on and off for quite some time now on the second part of my trilogy (THIS EVIL THING being the first part) – which focuses on three individuals in particular who were involved in the tragic events in 1945 – a scientist, a soldier and a survivor. I feel very stirred by this piece of work and it seems appropriate that I have completed the latest draft of this play this very week. I hope it will see the light of day in 2019 or 2020 latest when it will be performed by myself and a female Japanese performer (yet to be cast!). The photo posted here I saw at Tate Modern a couple of years ago – in Elton John’s collection, I think – and it feels very evocative.
Friday morning – March 16th
Stomach still playing up. But a simple breakfast in the hotel lobby doesn’t do any harm – apart from the fact that the milk comes in quarter-pint individual cartons. I use very little of mine and ask the staff what will happen to the rest.
‘Oh, you can just dispose of it, sir.’
‘But…isn’t that a bit wasteful?’ I suggest.
‘Let me take it, sir, and I’ll bear the burden of disposing of it.’
‘Oh. Okay,’ I reply, handing him the almost full carton. ‘But maybe someone else could use it?’
‘Let me take it, sir.’
A morning to myself, lying low in my very clean but characterless hotel room, and then Maria and Cara collect me at lunchtime to head to Wholefoods Market to get a healthy lunch. My local branch of this store in Clapham Junction back home is the size of a broom cupboard compared to the vast emporium we visit. (Everything’s smaller in Clapham…)
1040 is the number of the form on which citizens file their US tax return.
It’s also the name of the organisation Harold Penner belongs to – and it’s ‘1040 for Peace’ that has sponsored us to come to Akron for my first US performance. They each withhold a symbolic 10 dollars 40 cents from their tax bill, in protest against government defence spending, and redirect it to peaceful causes. A small gesture, but accompanied with letters to government officials explaining their reasoning.
Feb. 14th 2018
The answer to that question for about 40 people in and around the North Yorkshire village of West Burton seemed to be – ‘I know, let’s go and see a play in the local village hall about the treatment of COs in World War One.’
Oct. 29th 2017
‘To beep, or not to beep, that is the question…’
Is that chap about to leave or not? Can’t tell. But he doesn’t look happy.
If I beep to show him I’m waiting, will he get in a strop?
Behind me, someone has decided that ‘To beep’ is the answer to the question.
Well – to honk, loudly…
‘I’m waiting to see if this chap’s going!’ I mouth impotently back at them.
Oh, give me a break…
A request was received by Hull Truck Theatre for a complimentary ticket for my play from a Mr. Don Sutherland, a Quaker who had been a conscientious objector in WW2.
He had been involved in setting up agricultural peace communities in Lincolnshire…
could he also sell copies of his memoir about those experiences, and could he join me for the post show discussion? The answer from me was yes yes and yes! Oh – and could I ask how old Don is? Ninety seven.