Thursday, October 23, 2008

At last! I am writing again in a regular way. I wrote the first part of the first scene of this play I want to do about AIDS orphans and street children. I'm really pleased with the way the characters are getting to make themselves known as well.

Now, if I could just learn the lines for these two productions I am in...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Phew! It's been a most productive day. Today we did a show for a group in the next village to us. I was nervous but it all went well and they enjoyed us making fools of ourselves. I think the idea that I was Cinderella because (as the script said) "I was young and beautiful" set the tone and got the big laughs.
Then I came home and worked on the synopsis for the play about AIDS orphans and street children. I have the bones of the story set out, I know my main characters. It needs a bit of tweaking, loose ends tying, some light moments added, and then I will be ready to write it.
And lastly I went to rehearsal for the pantomime. Last week, I was worried. It felt so bitty, so early stages, and we have so little time left. But tonight, it felt as if it was coming together. I want to learn my lines completely in the next two weeks, so I can concentrate on delivery.
And now to bed. Tomorrow I want to elaborate on that synopsis, learn more about the characters and get to the stage of being ready to write a bare bones draft. And I want to learn those lines.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The piece seems to be going down well. The organisers of the fund raiser want to use it as is, and have decided to introduce the actress as an aidworker who is recounting a tale she was told. Might work. My son called the piece "a wallet opener", which is a good term. I'll be happy if it does the trick.
There is the germ of an idea for a one act play based on this subject. Not called "Suffer the Little Children," though, that's far too cliche and mawkish. I could explore the subject more thoroughly, make uncle a more memorable character, make the children's plight more real, and somehow get that centre built.
It's going to be written along with the new pantomime I've promised, plus two novels that are in the pipeline. And then there is the screenplay that I started thinking about at Gordy Hoffman's Bluecat seminar in London, which is tentatively titled "Alex and Rose".. Should keep me out of mischief for the time being.
I might try my hand at the second of those two novels for Nano this year. Although with the Church festival coming up, plus learning my lines for being in "Rumpelstiltskin," Nano might not be as big a success as before for me.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Well, I wrote the monologue I was asked to write, as spoken by one of the kids in need of the centre. Unfortunately, the actress who needs to deliver the monologue is not a waif like 15 year old, but a lady of mature years, and although she looks great, she does not look like a stqarving child. So I will take said monologue and rework it to suit.
Meanwhile, I'm putting the original up here. Please feel free to comment on it.

Suffer the Little Children

A young girl enters and addresses the audience. She is matter-of –fact, almost bland in her delivery.

I pray. I pray every day. Won’t do any good. God doesn’t listen to the likes of me. Why would he? He’s got a whole world of worry. A lot of important people with important problems that need His help. A nobody like me – I’m way down at the back of the queue.

But if He did glance my way, what would He see? A ??? year old who looks much younger. That’s because I’m little for my age. Most of us on the streets are. Well, you don’t grow much on what you can forage. My Uncle tells me it’s a good thing. He tells me the men he knows like girls who look younger than they are. (Pause) I wish I looked older.

He’s not my real Uncle. He’s just the man who turned up and claimed us when our mother died. He told us we were lucky he came. Nobody else would want us, he said, not when they knew how she’d died. I prayed and prayed someone would come to our aid. No-one did.

It was pneumonia that squeezed the life from her body. But that’s not what they said when they shut their doors and kept their distance. AIDS, they whispered. Not that the name of the illness mattered to me. All that counted to me was, she lay there getting weaker and weaker, fading away until she was gone and we were alone, my brother, my sister and me.

Alone, that is, but for our Uncle. He said he was my mother’s friend. But how could her friend treat her daughter as he treated me? He hurt me, and my sister. And he let other men hurt us too. I prayed they would stop. They didn’t. And in the end, I learned to live with it. Survive.

My sister was not so lucky. AIDS. The same illness that took our mother. I watched her fade away. ??? years old. Another statistic.

That leaves my brother and me. He can take care of himself, can my brother. He – er – collects things. In the markets, in shops. From the big houses in the nicer parts of town. He’s little, even littler than I am, and he can fit through the smallest of windows, and he moves quickly. Uncle likes him. He likes the things he does for him.

There used to be two of them. Small boys who could sneak through windows, with hands that darted out so fast you barely saw a blur as they collected what they wanted from you. But the other boy grew taller and bigger, and he had to move on. Uncle still found a use for him though. He sent him on errands. Fetching and delivering packages. Little packets of powder that people paid a lot of money for – until the day the police searched him and found them. He ran from them. He didn’t want to go to prison. So he died. Uncle was furious. The packets he had that day were worth a fortune.

I pray that my brother stays small.

Oh yes, I pray. I pray every day. But I am so far down to the back of the queue, surely I am out of sight, and my prayers are carried away on a night breeze before they can ever reach God’s ears. Nevertheless, I pray.

This wasn’t how I thought our lives would be, you know. I had plans. Well, more dreams, I suppose. When we were younger, before Mother became ill and all our dreams died with her, she encouraged us. We would all have an education, the best she could afford. She worked such long hours for it. She wanted us to learn, and gain skills that would make us valuable workers. “My children will find good jobs with good pay,” she used to say. “My children will have homes with a good roof, and a bed each, and food in their bellies every day. Jesus said ‘Suffer the little children’. Just you wait and see.”

She sighs and looks around.

Well, we do have a roof. And I have a bed to use. And there is usually some food. Somehow, though, when Jesus said ‘Suffer the little children’, I didn’t think this was what he meant.

She looks up sharply, listening.

That’s my brother. Laughing? Why is he –? What? (She smiles) It cannot be! Can it?

A miracle!

She starts to laugh and cry at the same time.

God can see all the way to the back of the queue. He can hear the prayers we whisper. He did. And he answered. A place. A place where we can go, be safe. A meal every day. Skills to learn and a hope for a better future. Medicines. Someone to talk to, to help us make sense of all that went before.

A wonderful place. The place of my prayers. The prayers He heard. Even from the very back of the queue.

I may cut the ending off and leave it all in one mood, so the commentator can come back and say "This is the kind of child who needs our help."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Centre in Malawi.

Today, I am writing a monologue which will be used as part of an evening of entertainment to raise funds for a centre for street children in Malawi. The children have been orphaned, mostly due to AIDS, and they are preyed upon by some very evil people. What Oliver Twist was subjected to is a walk in the park compared to what these children will endure.
The centre will provide them with a place to go, a meal each day, an education, training at skills that will make them employable, and thus give thema chance of a decent life. There is also counselling, medical help, and other practical help being offered. Although it will be a Christian centre, nobody will be admitted or turned away because of their faith or lack of it. Everyone who needs it will receive the help it offers, and there will be no pressure to become a Christian, although, obviously, much rejoicing if anyone does. It will be run as far as possible by local people, not by foreign "aid workers".
The centre will cost £25,000 to build. We have £6,000 already. Hopefully the evening on 25th October will make that £7,000.