Months ago, while finishing the third draft of the Theodora sequel and working on two different film ideas and adapting a short story for a short film and starting to work on the theatre project that is now TaniwhaThames, I was also asked to be part of Sixty-Six Books. And I love the bible, I love the stories, the excess, the magic, the absurdity, the lot of it. The Lot of it. And the King James translations above all. (Yes, of course there have been dreadful misinterpretations and terrible things done in the name of the people who believe those magic stories are real, that shouldn’t detract from the fact it’s a bloody good piece of writing. Pieces of writing.)
So I didn’t have time and I said yes anyway. I said yes and asked if I could have the Book of Ruth. There’s a very personal reason I asked for it, and the loved ones who were at mine & Shelley’s three* weddings will know why – and it won’t take much to guess either, but I’ll leave that extra layer for those of you who are seeing it to enjoy. If you can’t see it, I really recommend you buy it from Oberon Books. More than most playscripts, this can be read as an anthology in itself. I’ve not had a play published before, Oberon also publish the Mrs, so it’s especially lovely for me to have my short play alongside her several – and hugely exciting for me to have my name alongside so many great, exciting, interesting writers in Sixty-Six Books.
I haven’t seen it yet – I was away teaching an Arvon course last week when it opened and all the shiny people were at the new Bush Theatre at exactly the time we were listening to fourteen new writers share their work in the barn at Totleigh Barton. And in the barn was the right place for me to be that night. But I’m excited to see it tonight, what I saw in rehearsal was that Philip Wilson and Kate Duchene and Nikki Amuka-Bird did a fine job. Tonight I also get to see my very good friend and brilliant actor Tanya Moodie taking over for Nikki (who’s had to leave for filming) – so it’s all good.
And here’s the blog I’ve written for Oberon about writing the piece. (Blogs will eat themselves …)
* three weddings : the one where we just exchanged rings in front of a handful of friends the year I’d had breast cancer and wanted a witnessing of our survival of that year; the one when Ken brought in Civil registration for London gay couples; the one where Civil Partnerships became law. We’re still waiting – and campaigning for – marriage. Not gay marriage. Just marriage, equal, ordinary, usual, astonishingly individual – like everyone else’s.