Proof That Writing Is Never Wasted

As a writer, I’ve always believed that everything one produces is of some value. All writing has merit, if only to take you a little nearer your goal of producing something you’ll be proud of. Every time we write we learn from the experience – if it’s only that maybe that’s not the best way to do it.

This was illustrated recently when, in lockdown here in Spain, I needed to find something that could be adapted as a recorded reading to go on the website of amdram group Jávea Players. The aim is to keep our members entertained at a time when producing plays onstage is obviously not possible. Some people are posting videos of themselves reading stories or monologues. I wanted to do some of my own work so delved into the folder containing all my old writing and re-discovered an abandoned play that I’d written back in 2003 entitled Some Enchanted Evening.

Sam and Janet phone the police. - illustration by Phil Mansell

Sam and Janet phone the local police station to report the break-in

This was a quirky surreal comedy about a couple – Sam and Janet Evening – who return home from the pub quiz to find everything in their bungalow is not as they’d left it. There had been a break-in but nothing had been taken – except for some chocolate Hobnob biscuits. The television was on, showing a marathon session of snooker. It all pointed to the fact that the intruder had sat and watched the snooker on television while eating the aforementioned biscuits.

The play went on to introduce a zoo-keeper and a mysterious cyclist called Nigel who has a habit of abandoning bicycles in the fireplace of the bungalow. However, the opening scene was all that I needed for the lockdown project. I had written the play in several forms for various media – stage, radio and TV. All useful writing exercises. I adapted the version for radio as I originally envisaged it being an audio file. Once my wife, Caroline and I had recorded it, however, I saw other possibilities – a video illustrated with cartoons of the characters. And that’s how it turned out.

Sam with Fruit- illustrated by Phil Mansell

Sam with the basket of fruit that was second prize in the pub quiz

I never imagined that this play that I wrote so long ago would ever see the light of day again – let alone that I would end up supplying the voice of Sam!

I had written it, enjoyed the experience and moved on to other projects. Yet here it is today – resurrected as a short film. Proving that old, abandoned writing has its uses. So never throw that old stuff away. You never know when you may need it.

Some Enchanted Evening can be viewed here on YouTube. And here’s my blog about how I came to write it.

About philmansell

I'm a writer, photographer, illustrator and film-maker with a Masters degree in Multimedia & Information Design from the University of Wales, Newport. I'm also volunteer PR Officer with Newport Playgoers Society who own and run the city's 400-seater Dolman Theatre. I trained at the London Film School where I specialised in script-writing, directing and animation, and had three films screened at the National Film Theatre. After teaching film-making, photography and art, I moved into the world of advertising and PR and was a professional writer. My play 'According to Claudia' was selected by Newport Playgoers Society to launch their 92nd season. It won the Award for Theatre Show of the Year 2014 presented by lifestyle and entertainment magazine Voice. It has since been published by Silvermoon Publications and is available from Amazon. Other plays I have had published include 'Poor Yorick', 'Bunkered' and 'Caddying for Godot'. Previously my one act play 'Poor Yorick' was a winning entry in a competition run as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages project and was performed at both the 400-seat Dolman Theatre and Blackwood Little Theatre. Another play, 'Bunkered', was one of the winning entries in a competition judged by Welsh playwright Frank Vickery.
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