Amy McGivern

What It's Like Seeing
One Of Your Plays Come To Life

"In short, a bit like a nervous breakdown!"

I suppose for this to make sense, I need to provide a little bit of context.

Up until a few years ago, I had focused largely on acting. In fact, it's pretty much all I focused on, and I enjoyed it. The adrenaline rush you get from performing in front of a live audience is incredible, like going on the biggest rollercoaster at a theme park but for about two and a half hours; but you have to remember a lot of words.

The camaraderie you get from working with a group of people is unmatchable and you can make lifelong friendships in the process. One of my closest friends slapped me in a play once but really went for it. It has been about five years since that show and we still speak every day.

I find writing plays an extremely different process to this. Writing is a lot more solitary (unless you are part of a team, of course, but we can’t all write Peep Show, can we?) You start with the idea, write the play, and then chop and change and edit and refine until you have something people might want to work with.  It can be draining and exhausting, it can be fun and exciting.  But overall, it is very much your journey.

When the time comes to see it come to life and hand it over to a team of people, it is daunting. People compare the experience to handing over your child. I would rather give them my child (if I had one, which I don't! I have a sister. I'd give them my sister.)

Watching my play ‘Desperately’ being performed last year was bizarre.  Seeing three people reading out words you had written and moving around in the way you'd advised is strange.  I found myself sat on the edge of my seat huddled over a notepad furiously scribbling 'THIS IS RUBBISH' or 'CHANGE THIS' or 'GOT A BIG LAUGH; GO ON AMY'.

However, as crazy as it can all be during the performance, I think it can be a great learning curve.  Seeing my work performed has made me become a more disciplined writer.  Listening to an audience react is so important and gives you invaluable guidance.  Moreover, you sit there and think 'would I want to watch this?'  If the answer is no, start again.

I would recommend everyone puts pen to paper, whether it's a poem or a screenplay, or even a song, as it can be cathartic and so enjoyable.  Yes, having people clapping at you feels amazing, but having people clap at something you have created is truly special.

to see it come to life and hand it over to a team of people, it is daunting.  People compare the experience to handing over your child.  I would rather give them my child (if I had one, which I don't!  I have a sister.  I’d give them my sister.)

Watching my play ‘Desperately’ being performed last year was bizarre.  Seeing three people reading out words you had written and moving around in the way you'd advised is strange.  I found myself sat on the edge of my seat huddled over a notepad furiously scribbling 'THIS IS RUBBISH' or 'CHANGE THIS' or 'GOT A BIG LAUGH; GO ON AMY'.

However, as crazy as it can all be during the performance, I think it can be a great learning curve.  Seeing my work performed has made me become a more disciplined writer.  Listening to an audience react is so important and gives you invaluable guidance.  Moreover, you sit there and think 'would I want to watch this?'  If the answer is no, start again.

I would recommend everyone puts pen to paper, whether it's a poem or a screenplay, or even a song, as it can be cathartic and so enjoyable.  Yes, having people clapping at you feels amazing, but having people clap at something you have created is truly special.

Amy McGivern, Playwright

© 2017 Amy McGivern