GUEST BLOGGER STUART SLADE (who graduated from Magdalene in 1999, married his supervision partner and ran a film company making advertisements for ten years) writes about his latest play, Cans, which is on in Theatre 503 all month. The image above shows the play in rehearsal.
My secret shame has always been the tragedy paper. I was never a drama dude at school or Cambridge, but the tragedy paper ignited some kind of unholy mania in me. Over the next 15 years I read hundreds and hundreds of plays and an utterly enormous amount of theory and philosophy. Seriously – I was reading Hegel on my honeymoon. That’s how bad it got. In the end I had to confront me addiction, so in 2013 I wrote a short tragi-comic play about cot death and stag nights, and then another about getting your head chopped off by Islamic extremists, and then another one about a Ukrainian guy standing in front of his mother’s grave in Kiev. Quite bizarrely, they were all performed in decent theatres and people seemed to enjoy ‘em. Hey, take Hegel on your honeymoon. Try it.
Then, this summer, Theatre503 commissioned a month long run of my play about celebrity suicide and drowning mice in a bucket, called Cans
You can read all about it at http://www.theatre503.com/cans.
For the next three months until the opening night, I lived in a sort of heavenly/nightmarish world of elation/blank terror. The play opened on the 4th November. You know when you draw a picture – you can only see the mistakes? Seeing your own play is exactly like that. But I’m lucky, because the rest of the production massively compensates for the naïve ridiculousness of the writing – the acting is astonishing, the set’s awesome, and the director’s literally a genius. So it kinda works, I reckon.
Anyway, please go and see it, because the quality of my four year old daughter’s Christmas presents are pretty much entirely dependent on how full the house is over the run. But, more than that, English at Magdalene gave me so very much. At the time it gave me a great three years, a whole bunch of amazing friends and the love of my life, and now, massively surprisingly – and 15 years later – a vocation.
Every single day of my life I thank gawd that I didn’t do History, like I was going to before I saw the light.
The next play’s about a passenger plane that gets shot down over London. It’s called BU21 and it’s proper fierce. If Jane’ll have me back, I’ll report back nearer the time.