There’s a shrine outside Anna’s door. Candles. Empty energy drinks. A photograph. As the crowds part, one woman remains. Anna has no choice but to listen to what she has to say.
Hi Louise thanks for talking to TNC, how's everything going?
Very well thanks.
Do you have any nerves ahead of your plays run?
Yes, a little, but I feel like I'm in good hands with the cast and crew.
What does it mean to be at Foreward Festival with Four O'Clock Flowers?
It means so much, as although I have written three other plays, this is my first play going into production.
Can you tell me a little about Four O'Clock Flowers, how did the show come about?
I wrote it initially about two teenage boys who come into conflict with each other, and the consequences of that through some scenes that I took to my writing group. As the play grew, however, I realised that what I really wanted to write about was the mother's of those boys and the fallout of a tragic incident that takes place. After working with a brilliant dramaturg Neil Grutchfield further on the piece, I was lucky enough to have my play chosen to have a reading of the play at The Space Arts centre in the summer of 2017 through their Script space submission window. Now I am thrilled that The Space is bringing it to full production for a week.
What was the inspiration behind your play?
As a mother myself, I feel, as I'm sure many other's do at the moment, anxious and worried about what is happening at the moment with the many knife crimes we are witnessing on our streets. I was inspired to write the play through the daily feeds we receive about these horrific attacks. What struck me, however, was also the people that are left behind after these tragic events and wondering how they even begin to make sense of it all.
How much does your background as an actress help you when you're writing a new play?
I'm told I have a good ear for dialogue and I often read the lines out as I'm writing to make sure they sound authentic. I also love creating a backstory for a character, as you would as an actress
What has the experience been for you working with your director Kesia Guillery?
Kesia has already helped so much with refining parts of the script, and we've had some great meetings about research and character. Her first rehearsal was so energising and imaginative and she is bringing some great ideas to the play. I can't wait to see what she does with the play.
What have been the biggest challenges bringing this production to life?
I think for a lot of playwrights unless you are lucky enough to be well established, getting your play as far as production can take a fair amount of time and patience from the moment you first started writing it. That seems to me to be the biggest challenge, as once someone has said yes and wants to produce it, you may have already spent years grafting away on it and can now enjoy seeing it come to life.
Once a play is running do you find it hard to not keep tweaking it?
We have so little time to rehearse the play, so I wanted it to be in the best possible state before the actors started working on it. We did a research and development day before the first proper rehearsal and me and Kesia then made any final amendments then. Of course, there may be the odd line here and there though to tweak.
"...My group has been invaluable over the years with their support."
Have you always been interested in theatre?
Yes, as long as I can remember.
How much has your approach to your writing changed since your debut play?
It has made me think about the subject matters I explore in my plays, and what I would like to look at next.
What has been the best piece of advice you've been given?
With writing scenes, I don't know who originally said it, but I always remember something like 'Come in late and leaves early'.
Do you have any advice you would offer a fellow playwright/actor?
To playwrights, keep writing and don't worry about pleasing anyone. Join a group and share your work. My group has been invaluable over the years with their support.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Four O'Clock Flowers?
I hope they are moved. I hope they see a situation from a new angle and that somehow, something has changed for them as they leave.