Death Comes to St Michaels by Tom O’Malley

PlayPen Get to the End – Gets to the End. On 13th March 7:45PM at Aberystwyth Arts Centre the project will be presenting the final full-length play, Death Comes to St Michaels written by Tom O’Malley, directed by Caroline Clark and performed by Denise Williams, Jason Philpot, Jeremy Newman, Alex Gilbey, Huw Evans, Billy Taylor-Adam, Daz O’Connell, Lynne Baker, Sean Byrne, Paula Gallagher, Emma Sims, Heather Giles.

Death Comes to St Michaels sees an untimely death disturb a dinner party in a sleepy seaside town. It is left to the new vicar and a local reporter to help the Inspector unravel the truth.

PlayPen Get to the End began in March 2017 with PlayPen: Beginnings, with the first twenty minutes of 8 plays by local writers across 2 nights featuring 42 characters and performed by over 30 actors. This part of the project has been named ‘Get to the End’ in reference to the project supporting writers to achieve the very simple but often evasive task of simply getting to the end of writing a play.

PlayPen: Get to the End is a development project by Scriptography Productions produced by Richard Hogger, Tom O’Malley and Sandra Bendelow.

Tickets are available from the box office 01970 623232 or https://www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/theatre/death-comes-st-michaels

 

7# Five things from Tom O’Malley

Death Comes to St Michael’s is the seventh and final in our series of rehearsed readings for new full length plays. We asked all of the writers participating in PlayPen Get to the End to share the five things that stopped them and the five things that helped them Get to the End. Here the writer of Death Comes to St Michaels, Tom O’Malley shares his five things.

5 things that stopped you getting to the end

  • Starting without a clear enough idea of what I was meant to be doing.
  • Sitting at my desk and planning too much
  • Doing too much research, i.e. searching you tube for murder mystery plays
  • Giving up too readily and too early in the process
  • Looking for biscuits, not finding them, going to the shop, and making coffee – too often

5 things that helped you?

  • Deciding on a plan and sticking to it, at least for the first draft
  • Sitting at my desk and putting pen to paper – regardless of the consequences
  • Switching off the TV
  • Not allowing myself any biscuits or coffee if I even considered giving up.
  • Looking forward to finishing it!!!

Death Comes to St Michaels is written by Tom O’ Malley, directed by Caroline Clark performed by Lynne Baker, Denise Williams, Heather Giles, Paula Gallagher, Emma Simms,  It will be presented as a script in hand reading at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 13th March at 7:45PM

Tickets for Death Comes to St Michaels are available through the box office 01970 623232 or https://www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/theatre/death-comes-st-michaels

 

More information on PlayPen Get to the End is available here

 

A director’s perspective on PlayPen

We have been thrilled to be able to offer people the opportunity direct for the first time as part of the Playpen process, as a rehearsed reading the play offers the chance to give directing a go in a supportive environment and relatively pressure free. Here Roger Boyle one of our new-to-directing directors talks about the experience.
How would you describe the experience of directing for the first time?

I suppose it is the first time, as other times I have directed were ages ago and really rather different.  Having been on the receiving end [acting] I know that all directors are different, and distilling good practice is not simply observation as the character of the individual and the practice cannot really be disentangled.  So I didn’t worry about just doing it “my way” and have found that personally satisfactory, but getting clear opinion from the cast will be difficult, I think.

How did you approach the piece?
The piece turned out to be rather different to the sample 20m we did last spring and gave some challenges.  A lot of it is driven by events and people who/which are not displayed and often are wholly implicit, so I wanted the cast to agree on what those features actually were.

What do you think are the challenges, good and bad, of working with a new play with the writer involved in the process?
A composer once told me that the worst thing about publishing a piece of music was that you lose all control over it; musicians/conductors can interpret it however they please and if you don’t like it, tough.  As a writer, I agree (although my director was very sympathetic to my intentions).  So having the writer present certainly allowed gaps in intent to be filled easily in most cases – but not all; after casting a character as male I learned that [s]he had been intended to be female.  There wasn’t much I could do about that.  That sort of experience actually helped me as a writer – be very clear about what you want if you definitely don’t want the director to fiddle with it.

Who has inspired you as a director?
Unfacetiously, every director I have worked with.  The variety of approaches and ideas has been of great value, even if they are things I did not choose to use.

Have you enjoyed directing – would you do it again?
I’d jump at the opportunity if given it, but it’s a privilege to be earned: whoever is staging or writing something needs to have some faith in you.

Why do you think audiences should come and see the play?
To be entertained by a piece of theatre

Blinds written by Caroline Clark, directed by Roger Boyle. performed by Lynne Baker, Huldah Knox-Thomas, Catrin Fflur Huws, James Baker, Bob Cook, Denise Williams. It will be presented as a script in hand reading at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 13th February

Tickets for Blinds are available through the box office 01970 623232 or https://www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/theatre/blinds

The final PlayPen Get to the End project will be presented as follows

13th March 7.45PM 2018 – Death Comes to St Michaels written by Tom O’Malley, Directed by Caroline Clark

More information on PlayPen Get to the End is available here

6# Five things by Caroline Clark

Blinds was written by Caroline Clark. Here are the fine things that stopped and the five things that helped her Get to the End.

‘Blinds’ was atypical as it is based on an existing short story so the end ( in the plot sense) was there from the start. The problems in completing were :

Trying to get the individual voices right.

Trying to balance filling out the characters against slowing the action.

Deciding whether to stay with the single location or open it out.

Deciding whether to stay with the “snap” ending or not.

Things that helped:

seeing & hearing it played.

The reactions of the actors and the clarity they gave to the characters.

Advice on where the text was too thin.

Seeing how other scripts developed.

Hearing the approaches of professional writers.

Blinds written by Caroline Clark, directed by Roger Boyle. performed by Lynne Baker, Huldah Knox-Thomas, Catrin Fflur Huws, James Baker, Bob Cook, Denise Williams. It will be presented as a script in hand reading at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 13th February

Tickets for Blinds are available through the box office 01970 623232 or https://www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/theatre/blinds

The final two PlayPen Get to the End project will be presented as follows

13th March 7.45PM 2018 – Death Comes to St Michaels written by Tom O’Malley, Directed by Caroline Clark

More information on PlayPen Get to the End is available here