Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Making a new radio play

I spent two days at the end of last week at the BBC in Glasgow to sit in on the recording of my new play 'The Three Knots'. It was great fun to return to that world after several years away. I heard the words I had hounded down and harnessed through numerous drafts springing into new life, was awed that they could mobilise five actors, a Director, three audio staff, an administrator and a whole world of electronic sound effects into a collaborative act of creation. To witness the nuances of meaning and subtext teased out through the sensibilities of the actors and Director; to remember that fewer words often mean more power; and to find that a terrifying storm can be invoked by layerings of sound, is a huge privilege. For the solitary fiction writer, this is a radically different, and a most exciting way of working.

L to R: Robbie Jack, Finn Den Hertog and Hannah Donaldson preparing for a scene.

'The Three Knots' is the realisation of an idea seeded at least three years ago when, while looking through back copies of the Scots magazine in the National Library of Scotland for something else, I stumbled upon an engraving of a remarkable vessel arriving on Loch Sunart in the West Highlands in 1846. It remained anchored there for ten years, and played a highly significant role in the spiritual and political life of the local community. I was intrigued. I have written about how it captivated me before, here. I walked the hills there, and started to inhabit the place with my imagined characters, until they grew, gathered to themselves relationships, conflicts, mythical associations, and so shaped a story.
Hear it as an afternoon play on Radio Four at 2.15 on December 22nd.

1 comment:

RasoirJ said...

I really liked your post on BBC radio play experience. Linked to it today in our Good Reads, Cool Views section of the 3:17 a.m. blog at: