How We Tell Our Stories

Updated: Feb 26

My Mum sent me this post it's from the RSC Website about a new play called The Whip.

https://www.rsc.org.uk/blogs/whispers-from-the-wings/who-tells-our-stories

It sits in the same territory as my novel and I was curious given that I'm in the throes of adapting Master into a play.

It's been very difficult, not so much the writing, but the letting go, because after writing several drafts of a first act, I've realised following some good advice that in essence - I'm going to have to abandon the novel. Discover what is at the heart of the play, seperate to the novel.

When writing William's story it was such a vast history and story arc, that to unearth the themes, I had to go down several pathways. The obvious one of fighting for freedom and equality sat at the top, but then what?

Gradually during the editing process the idea of Fate as a theme came to the fore and I would then shape and tailor the writing to align with that.

The other which would seem obvious, but wasn't, until I heard William say to me one morning in the shower -

'I want to be the Master.'

'The Master?,' I asked, thinking he wanted to be a plantation owner like his father.

'My own Master,' he said. 'Master of my home.'

And this shaped the ending, and I gave William what he asked for, which he probably never got in real life.

So now, I have to set out on the journey again, to discover what sits at the heart of the play. Every time I ask the question, so far I keep getting the same answer. It's the one that sits very deeply hidden at the base of the novel.

'How do you tell a child they've been born a slave?'

Where this will lead me, I'm very much looking forward to finding out.