Right, latest script finally done – as much as it can be – and sent off for rehearsals. It’s one off the oddest, most unnatural rewrites I’ve ever had to do, and it remains to be seen how much of it has been successful. Plus, I’ve just worked out that there’s a terrifyingly small and vanishing amount of time before the show goes up, so my blood pressure has taken a spike or two.
But before all that (or, at least, at pretty much the same time as all that), is Year Without Summer, the Brighton Fringe play about Mary Shelley. As I may have mentioned before, 2016 marks exactly 200 years since Mary Shelley came up with the idea for Frankenstein, which – depending on who you speak to – is largely considered to be pretty much the basis for modern science fiction. There was certainly something in the (Geneva) water. What I found fascinating about the events of May and June 1816, and what doesn’t seem to be discussed all that much in other plays and films, is the presence of Claire Clairmont, Mary Shelley’s half sister. A month or so earlier (a matter of weeks, really) she had managed to bag Lord Byron as a bedfellow, which was a more remarkable feat than you might have thought. Yes, Byron was a rake, but he was already beginning to tire of having to be the boy pursued by all of the women (and a fair amount of the men) of England. Yet, Claire managed to win him over. Not for long, of course, which is why she pulled her trump card – Mary and Percy Shelley, both of whom Byron greatly admired. And so all of them ended up in the same place at the same time (if I remember my dates, Byron and Shelley met for the very first time exactly 200 years prior to our first night, on the 30th May 1816). So it’s at least possible that if circumstances had been any different, if Claire had not successfully beckoned Byron out to Geneva, then he will not have been in place to demand ghost stories – and Mary, possibly,. may not have been inspired to write Frankenstein. All because Claire yearned for her poet. This, in part, forms the bedrock of our narrative. As I say, we open on the 30th of May, and we run until the end of the Brighton Fringe (5th June) at Sweet Venues Brighton.
Once May comes to an end, improv workshops kick back up again at the DukeBox, with a series of drop-in classes under the umbrella title Generously Selfish (or maybe it’s Selfishfully Generous; I haven’t decided yet). Those will be every Sunday, and are still priced at just £5 each.