Don’t Make a Scene! Drama workshop – 19th March 2014

Carolyn's Radio

Writing radio plays presents a whole new world of challenges for writers who are novices in this genre but Helena Sheridan’s enjoyable workshop helped steer us through the pitfalls and problems, by demonstration and with useful exercises along the way.

Having listened to a recording of a prize winning ghost story, penned by Catherine Lang, for a West Sound Radio Drama Competition, other club members – who had done their homework – shared their scripts. Helena’s challenge had been to write a story in which a sound effect impacted on character.

In Wilma’s piece, the sound of a bell was significant; for James’s characters, the sound of fire licking through crackling twigs was eerily crucial; whale song – or was it an oboe? – was centre stage in Mollie’s piece, while the robotic soundscape provided by Nigel stole the show in Maggie’s sci-fi space tale. Finally, Greta outlined the plot of a piece in which dementia was to result in the loss of a small fortune when it accidentally went up in smoke on bonfire night.

Following the fun of performing some of these pieces, Helena presented us with group writing challenges. What impact does it have on characterisation when a character can only utter a limited number of words (3, 6 or 10) in each speech?  We were all about to find out!

With plots based on familiar tales such as Aladdin, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, The Three Little Pigs and Cinderella, the groups provided some imaginative and hilarious re-workings, and never before have so many fingers been counted during the course of one writers’ workshop!

Many thanks, Helena, for a memorable, useful workshop.

Carolyn O’Hara

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