Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Off-the-shelf book reviews: AUTHOR IN THE SPOTLIGHT - Graham Smith

Off-the-shelf book reviews: AUTHOR IN THE SPOTLIGHT - Graham Smith: I am delighted that  GRAHAM SMITH  is joining me on my blog today. Graham's latest book - Snatched From Home - was published by Caffei...

Friday, 10 July 2015

From Page to Stage

Once in a while fortune shines down on us writers. In an act of support for a friend I travelled across the country (in truth only about 90 miles but across the country sounds way more dramatic) to see the stage adaptation of her novel.

After enjoying a fantastic performance, I was lucky to be introduced to the director – Derek Lawson – with the additional tag of “he writes as well you know” added after my name. I hit it off with the director and by the time we’d parted company, he’d passed me a card with his email address and a request to read my novel. At this time, Snatched from Home was on the submission trail as I tried to secure a publishing deal.

I duly sent Derek a copy of Snatched from Home and expected to never hear from him again. Lo and behold, I heard from him a few months later. He liked my novel. He liked it enough that he wanted to adapt it for the stage. Needless to say I was overjoyed to read his emails and work with him.

A publishing contract arrived for me from Caffeine Nights in early 2014 and I kept working on scripts with Derek until we were both satisfied with the adaptation. We found a venue in the Salford Arts Theatre and the play of Snatched from Home was added to the bill of the Greater Manchester Fringe.

Early 2015 saw us begin the audition process and have cast read-throughs. The script was tweaked and I added a monologue to give a certain character greater depth. Next up was rehearsals. At the first full cast rehearsal the actor playing DI Harry Evans was delayed so I was handed a script and asked to fill in. If there are any writers reading this, they’ll understand what an honour and privilege it is to get this opportunity. I got to read the main character’s lines to a bunch of actors who were playing the characters I’d created. To say my mind was blown would be an understatement akin with calling Mount Everest “a fairly big hill”.

Work and life kept me away from the other rehearsals until I travelled down to Manchester on Monday for the first full dress rehearsal. Typically I arrived early full of nervous excitement. Another to arrive early was Emlyn Jones who plays DI Harry Evans. With nobody else yet present to help him read lines, I offered. He accepted and I had the surreal experience of reading lines with a fine actor who was playing the part of the character I’ve come to hold dearest of all my creations.

Wednesday saw the opening show and it went brilliantly from start to finish. Thursday was the same and I’m looking forward to tonight’s final show with a mixture of excitement and a feeling of sorrow that this wonderful experience is about to come to an end. Every time I’ve watched the performance the hairs on the back of my neck have stood on end and I expect nothing different tonight.

Whatever else does or doesn’t happen in my writing career, I will always have three performances and a dress rehearsal to look back on with fondness, admiration and nostalgia.

At this point all there is left to say, is a most sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in the production.

For the record they are

Derek Lawson – Director
Emlyn Jones – DI Harry Evans
Andrew Marsden – DI John Campbell
Lee Petcher – DS Neil Chisholm
Anna Dawson – DC Lauren Phillips
Kerry Kawai – Victoria Foulkes
Bill Blackwood – Nicholas Foulkes
Hannah Mary Jenkins – Samantha Foulkes
Robbie Hopkins – Kyle Foulkes
David Swift – Elvis
Phil Chadwick – Blair / Brown
Graeme Slater – Obama
Andy Pilkington – Lector / Pentwortham
Kris Hitchen – Graham Armstrong
Anna Parr – Helen Salter
Cameron Lowe – Stage management
Peter George – Technical
Scott & Roni – Venue management

Again my deepest gratitude to all who have performed in, worked on or attended the play, I’m aware that as a debut author I have been afforded an opportunity that hasn't been offered to authors who have sold a million more books than I.

Tonight’s the last night and these guys are gonna knock it out of the park one last time. If you’re able to come, be at Salford Arts Theatre for 8.00pm tonight, Friday 10th of July 2015