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Saturday, 2 April 2016


Rather stupidly in the original post, I forgot to include a brief summary on what the play is about. The blurb appears below.

I had a stab at writing a 45-minute radio drama based of some factual background but with large doses of imagined conversation between an 89-year-old father who left his wife and seven children and vanished. His son, then 6 but now 60, tracks him down and they have a meeting, the son armed with many questions and the father hoping for reconciliation and forgiveness as he nears the end of his life.

The play is called Shaking Hands and it is yet to be commissioned and broadcast. Here's the blurb:

"This play was written as a 45-minute radio drama (thinking BBC Radio 4 afternoon). It is fiction, based on several facts from the author's life. A 60-year-old son tracks down his 89-year-old father to question him on why he left the family home, a wife and seven children more that fifty years ago. In the quest to find the "missing years", the son finds it hard to suppress simmering anger and the father clings to hope of reconciliation. The script is adaptable for the stage and would be useful for student actors to practice their dramatic skills."

A BBC Northern Ireland producer read it and said some nice things about it. Here are her comments:

Thank you so much for sending ‘Shaking Hands’, it’s a very thoughtful, emotional and intelligent script which I very much enjoyed reading.  I thought your treatment of the relationship between father and son was very interesting and viscerally drawn - you really could feel the anger and frustration and hopes and vulnerabilities of the characters as they negotiated the stages of the meeting.  Although I was secretly hoping for a happy ending, I also very much admired how you left the piece, with no resolution possible given the past, but perhaps some understanding for the characters. Unfortunately however, we have recently had a piece commissioned, which tackles the story of a daughter tackling her father about the secrets of his past, and although the two pieces are of course very different, we just felt that the subject matter was too similar at the moment and that Radio 4 would be unlikely to be looking for another piece in the same territory.”

I still keep the faith that the script is good enough for submitting again, maybe to tie in with Father's Day or whatever. 

Anyway, I have an idea for another 45-minute script, this one is a basic two-hander between two PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) officers, one with thirty years experience and the other with five. They meet in a pub after a long day interviewing a suspect and they reflect on how it went and how they plan to tackle the interview the following day. Differences of opinion, argument, old tactics v new surface etc, etc.

The arc is the idea is clear to me and I have written some rough passages of dialogue. One thing I am aiming for is not to identify which side the suspect is from.

I'm hoping the play will have serious points to make but, because it happens in Belfast, it must have humour at various stages.

Let's see if it amounts to anything......

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