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.
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.
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.