It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 months since the ray of sunshine that is Nathan Bryon joined Team PP as our Big Room Fellowship playwright – and what a year it has been! He’s been to Barcelona, joined us at Latitude and in Edinburgh, and also managed to squeeze in two development workshops to develop a new script. Not bad, eh?
We got him to write one last blog for us before jetting off to film Benidorm – oh yeah, did we forget to mention that he acts too?! What a guy. It’s not goodbye, just see you later – it’s been a pleasure!
It’s that time again to blog for PP but sadly it will be the last time as the Big Room writer!
Down to business!!! I feel like I need to do one of those catch ups they put at the beginning of cheesy American show ‘Previously on the Big Room Fellowship…’ in bullet point form.
- Another One Bites The Dust: A short play I wrote about police brutality in America was performed in Barcelona
- I wanted to develop AOBTD play during my time with PP and after 3 days of workshopping and talking lots, the idea for Mixed Brain was floating around in my head, I just didn’t know what it was.
- A further 4 days locked in the PP Big Room with no food or water resulted in me writing the first draft of Mixed Brain.
So after 4 days locked in the PP Big Room, OK I wasn’t technically locked in and OK there was food and water, lots of it actually. I had a first draft of my new play Mixed Brain… I wrapped up the first draft and ran off to the pub to see the Paines Plough Crew Dem and just forget about it for a while!
‘Mixed Brain is about exploring what it means to be Mixed Race in London in 2016, the story is set in a Mixed Race family about two brothers who have been bought up VERY differently and an incident that separates the whole family…’
Lots of Life happened and then George and James asked me what did I want to do to end this ‘Scheme??’ One thing was that I wanted see LOADS of theatre before I went back to Spain… so I did, I went and saw a lot, but what I really loved was ESCAPED ALONE – it was everything! MA RAINEY was magical!
I also wanted to hear Mixed Brain read out loud, as there is only so many times you can hear you own whiney voice saying your words! George and James then told me was money left over in the budget, after they had said no I couldn’t use it too fly first class to Jamaica for a week, I decided I wanted another 3 day workshop with Mixed Brain.
The script was in a first draft state, meaning bare spelling mistakes and just general chaos, and Rachel the legend then went around attaching dons to the workshop! First to the party is the Don of Dons, my flat white partner in crime, just general O.G Natalie Ibu was the director. We met in a PRET obvs, and I just thought YES she is a DON. Natalie is the sort of person I can chat with for HOURS about everything and everything and just get wiser! SHE IS A WISE WISE DON!
Natalie and Rachel then literally got the avengers of young performers, god knows how all these dons were available at the same time.
The morning of the workshop Rachel texted me the cast list – I had just got back from working in Glasgow so was a bit knackered but I was just like RAAAAAAAAR!!! They are the fire of young British talent right now and I get to work with them for 3 days – what a fucking honor!
The first thing we did was a read of the text which for me was super useful to hear lots of other voices read in, and could allow me to realize that… the story would appear and disappear and some scenes were totally useless, but it’s cool I’m not down in the dumps – my first drafts I call my vomit draft: just getting it ALL out! There were also bits of text that I really liked as well it’s not doom and gloom out here.
Like most workshops WE debated WE Discussed LOADS over the 3 days, about things that give us rage and what we would like to change, revolving around mainly race. We would leave a session and I think it’s fair to say everyone’s brains were bulging with thoughts of what we had discussed.
Unlike most workshops I’ve done, I usually bring in new scenes during the days to play with new material but this time I didn’t. It was great to interrogate the text and ask questions, exploring it more as it was a new writing style for me as I had written the play by assigning no characters or locations to the lines.
I almost wished we had a camera in the room filming us and you dons could just live stream in but a) that would be kinda creepy B) it wouldn’t be the same. Natalie created such a free raw space everything felt open to bring forward their thoughts and tings.
Before a workshop I usually write a list of things I want to achieve by the end of the days. My main one for this Mixed Brain pt 2 workshop was to leave inspired to make the next draft. I AM SOOOOO exited to re-draft it!!! Let’s hope I don’t make it shit…
We ate Caribbean for lunch like everyday, we were in Brixton so it was live! Then the workshop ended with BEERS and MUNCH, the way life should just end in general. We all sat down and I asked the actors questions like… ‘What scenes would you like to see in this play which I haven’t written?’ ( I’m such a lazy writer hahaha) ‘What characters would you like to see most developed?’ etc, and then we just chatted about life! It was VIBES.
My time at PP has been legit the best year of my life so far!!!!! I am soooooo fucking grateful to have had this incredible opportunity. I’ve done so much. I’ve literally just heard the first draft of my new radio play BILAL’S BIRTHDAY which was recorded in New York – yep NEW YORK!! CRAY CRAY CRAY!!!! A Naked Angels and Paines Plough production, it will be out mid March I’m guessing… I still can’t get over American’s reading my words hahahaha!
PPS. I am going to produce my play NEGRIL BEACH and I’m looking for producers – HOLLA at yo boy!!!!