“Beginnings” was a fantastic project!
It all began when the two CEO’s of our marketing company (Mark Hinckley and Richard Ördög of The Gentlemen Creatives), asked us to write a play about them.
“Hmm… interesting” we thought… “Sure, sounds like fun!” we said!
And so began one of my most creative journeys to date.
They had asked us (myself and Robert G. Neumayr) to write a play about the jobs they had had prior to meeting each other, and founding their own company. There wasn’t really a concrete plan at the beginning, but like any great adventure, the destination wasn’t important; we just had to start the journey. And so Robert and myself met with Mark & Richard on several occasions. We listened to stories from their past, got an idea of the style of show they were looking for, and the whole time we were recording our conversations for later use during the writing process. The play itself would be a closed performance, invitation only event, for the clients of The Gentlemen Creatives. So it was important for us to capture the style and characters that their clients had grown accustomed to. Luckily for us, Mark and Richard are quite a pair of characters, and their stories from previous jobs were comedic gold! So, in actual fact, the play kind of wrote itself, with Robert and myself filling in the blanks along the way.
What we ended up with was a hilarious comedy sketch show, which people are still talking about. The process of directing and the performance itself, was also a high octane adventure, which I explain in more detail on my page Director.
Although I have tried my hand at adapting novels into stage plays (“A Christmas Carol” and “The Picture of Dorian Grey”), “Hedda” was my first piece of new writing. I have of course dabbled in bits and pieces of writing before, but with “Hedda” I had a very clear goal in mind, and of course, the positive stress of knowing that the production dates were fixed in the season!
Although new writing, as the title suggests, this was infact a modern reworking of Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler”. I have always been a fan of Ibsen’s work, and I think that he has a wonderful style of storytelling; very dark, maintaining a sense of realism, excitement, and the occasional throwback to myth and folklore. I chose “Hedda Gabler” as my main source of inspiration not only because I find the story to be disturbingly wonderful, but also because there are very few good parts for women in classical and modern classic texts. And so, if I were going to spend a year writing something, then my choice was clear… I would write something new, inspired by a playwright I loved and respected, for a leading actor whom I loved and respected. My wife Maria Lohn.
And so, with one year before premiere, I set to work. I had a pretty good idea of what it was I wanted to do. I would start by scrutinising Ibsens play to the core. I would study his text, and look for all of the major plots and themes which are predominant throughout. I would perform character breakdowns of each part in the play. I would strip the play down to its supporting frame, then build my own play around it. My own modern reworking of “Hedda Gabler”, set in the present day, for a cast of five.
The work was intense, and I threw away entire versions of the script multiple times and started from scratch. I even wrote the start of one version in Samos, Greece… which is where that version stayed!
I always wanted to write in my own words, and decided that before I tried something completely original (if such a thing even exists), I would use “Hedda” as a bridging piece between adaptation and new writing. I learned a great deal during the writing process for “Hedda”, and the experience is one that I will keep with me. My respect for writers increased during this year, and my love of direction took a giant leap forward too once we got into the rehearsal room. For more on that process, please take a look at my page Director.