I always make myself super-available for work in early August, when everyone else is on holiday, and my hopes of being super-busy rarely pan out quite as desired. Happily, this year I have been busy, and have spent two weeks writing a short, three-character play for a new scheme which asks for 10-20 minute plays in response to the current political climate in the UK. I’d had the bare bones of a script idea for some time and nowhere to put it because I wasn’t sure how to stretch it to a full-length play, so this has very much been the right opportunity at the right time.
The play is called WHO TO FOLLOW and is about the personal and political tension between a Tory voter and an anyone-but-Tory voter in the aftermath of this year’s general election. It’s about mental health too (surprise…). As the title suggests, it’s also about Twitter. Specifically, the anxiety, paranoia and second-guessing that can ensue when your main or only contact with someone is through Twitter. And how social media can now be used to maintain a polite illusion of friendship or contact whilst avoiding profound or potentially awkward conversations, which only comes to a head whenever one person manages to pin the others(s) down face-to-face. (Not that this is unique to social media. I had a situation like it long before Twitter or Facebook, where somebody’s indifference to me became apparent after several years of me drawing teeth and being politely fobbed off over email…).
The title comes from Twitter’s “Who To Follow” algorithm, which suggests followers to you based on people you both know…blind to the reasons someone might prefer to keep mutual friends apart…
Six plays will be chosen from the submissions to be performed at a leading London Fringe venue in October. If it doesn’t fit in there, I hope it’ll find a suitable home elsewhere. Oh, and I’m not sure I’d have got it all done by now if it wasn’t for the Tube strike messing up my other plans, so serendipitous thanks for that, TFL.