My dear friend, the playwright, Les Smith, once told me, the first draft of a script is to show you that you have a story (beginning, middle and end). The second draft is to find out what your story is really about.
Les didn’t, at that point, mention that the third, fourth and fifth drafts are to test your resolve, the sixth and seventh to test your sanity.
No matter. Like the choreographer and the composer, the playwright’s pain melts into air in the presence of an appreciative audience.
My monologue, “Sacrament”, is about to premiere at Gulliver’s in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. I can hardly wait.
Helen Parry, a doyenne of the Manchester theatre scene, will be directing. Across nigh on two years, through a series of challenges (including a pandemic, one venue’s rogue employee, and other stuff I’d rather not mention) Helen has maintained faith in the project and stuck with it. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate her contribution.
Hayley Cartwright (who you may well have seen with the Lipstick Thespians, or on tv in Cold Feet, or as the celebrant on Coronation Street) has thrown herself into making the role of Rosie her own.
The intimate setting of the lounge at Gulliver’s will be the perfect space for the audience, who will “play” Rosie’s workmates (don’t worry, this is not an audience-participation event, you won’t have to do anything, just sit there and listen).
Rosie has reached that stage in life where she’s beginning to wonder, as Peggy Lee once sang, “Is That All There Is?” She lives alone, she’s worked at the side-street local supermarket longer than any of her colleagues. She’s not a victim, she’s a survivor. But what is she surviving for?
Nothing special ever happens in Rosie’s life. Until tonight.
Tonight, a quiet night, while she was working checkout on her own, someone came in to buy a few odds and ends. She looked up and immediately knew who he was. It was Jesus. Yes, THAT Jesus. They got chatting, hit it off, and then Jesus invited Rosie out on a date. She’s come here to tell us, her workmates, all about it.
Rosie’s tale is funny, and it’s moving; but is it true? Come along and make up your own mind.
“Sacrament” (tickets £8 plus booking fee) is at Gulliver’s, Oldham Street, Manchester on 20 and 21 October, 2021.