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Blog: Sweet Bedford

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The Trains On My Platform and I headed SLIGHTLY NORTH on Saturday night, to BEDFORD, where my play Captain Wonderful was being performed at The Place Theatre as part of the StageWrite Festival.

Getting there seemed PEASY as we were going from The Olympics to St Pancras on the javelin train then going directly from there to Bedford. However! There are two entirely different sets of platforms run by different companies which send different trains between the two stations, and we went to the wrong one! We spent a CONFUSED few minutes looking at the train times board and saying "But NONE of these times were on interweb version" before The Times Of My Departures realised what was going on and directed us back upstairs, past a couple of barrier guards who were clearly very familiar with this sort of thing, and onto the correct train. Phew!

We got to Bedford at high speed and then wandered across town, passing a West Indian Social Club on the way. "It's just like Peterborough" I thought as we then saw a Polish Club. "All it needs now is an Italian Social Club" I thought... then turned round and saw it!

We met Bedford resident Mr J Kell in a nearby pub, which was GRATE because a) we hadn't seen him for ages and b) him writing a SCREENPLAY version of Dinosaur Planet a few years ago was one of the things that got me interesting in The Writing Again. After a bit of a chat my PARENTS arrived in their car and we all headed off to The Theatre.

Ooh, it was right nice! If you look on their website you won't see much to indicate what it's actually like in there - it was LOVELY, much like the StageWrite people we met during the course of the evening. As the aforesaid Actors In My Cast would later point out, it's amazing when people spend so much of their free time DOING stuff like this i.e. putting on a whole week of new plays just so that people can come and see them. It was fab!

We shuffled in and watched the first play, "Lions" by David Weir. It was about a man waiting to be presented with an award while the secrets of his past gradually seeped out. It was interesting, ENTHRALLING, funny in places and all round dead good, and was followed by a Q&A session in which the audience asked questions of the author and were themselves asked to respond to questions that the author had submitted with their piece. I must admit I'd forgotten all about this bit. "Do you have to do that?" asked my Mum. "Aren't you nervous?" I have to say I wasn't - partly because I'd had a PINT, partly because I'm not entirely averse to showing off, but mostly because it all felt quite separate from me as MYSELF. It was AGES since I'd entered the competition, I wasn't IN the play, and I hadn't read it since I'd sent it in, so it was as if someone else had written it!

This feeling only increased when we came back to the bar for the second half of the evening - the play itself! It was brilliantly done (all "off book" i.e. read from scripts) by the cast and really well directed and for most of its duration I sat NODDING vigorously. "Yes, that is RIGHT!" I kept thinking. There's a whole bit about the origin of Spider-Man and the fact the Shakespeare has lots of supernatural elements that I nearly hurt my NECK during, such was the level of AGREEMENT. "Whoever wrote this has the right idea about EVERYTHING!" I thought.

On other occasions when I've seen my own stuff performed I've been AFEARED and anxious, but I really enjoyed it this time. It was GRATE! Afterwards I went and sat with the cast and GRINNED HAPPILY about how much fun it had been. Even better, when it was all over, I was presented with one of the two Captain Wonderful t-shirts that feature in the script!

It was an all round EXCELLENT evening spent with delightful CHUMS and FAMILY which ended with an even easier journey home in time for a celebratory DRINK. The Theatre: it's really rather good fun!

posted 15/3/2016 by MJ Hibbett

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