It is just before 9am on Friday morning and Shaun Hartman doesn’t look like a writer who hasn’t slept in over 26 hours. This is the first time Shaun has written for 14/48. His script was submitted just over an hour before the deadline.
The debut word pile is about a band given an opportunity to sell out or stick to their principals.
“I’d written it as a comedy but with a somewhat cynic and nihilistic rant at the end. But then I was very conscious of the fact mine was play number 7 and I wanted to end it on an upbeat note.”
This is a fine balancing act writers have to tread. Not just considering what they want to say in a piece but also where their piece lies in the running order of the night. The first play is like a MC in a comedy club. They come out to set the scene and warm the audience up. A first play which hits the marks can help the others fly higher. The beats in the last play ring out as the audience head home.
Shaun’s play requires a song to play at the end. He says he hasn’t specified what this song would be. “But if it was up to me it would be Love Shack but that’s because it’s my answer to everything.”
We agree Love Shack is easily one of the top three songs ever written.
Last night, after the drawing of the theme, many of the company hit the pub. Sitting in the group were Shaun and fellow writer Matt Beames. Other writers had disappeared but these two hung out in a drinking establishment, notepad in hand. With such a tight deadline why would a writer go to the pub to hang out?
“I had some ideas in the Y when the theme first came out when I was around people. I got a lot of ideas from mingling with people.” He explained further, “If I’ve got absolutely nothing and I go into a hotel room by myself then I don’t trust myself to come up with anything.”
So the pub was an oasis of inspiration. Or was it?
“I was in this weird position where I ccouldn’t quite enjoy myself but I couldn’t sit down and write. I probably should have left a little earlier.”
To anyone who has written, particularly for 14/48, this is a common thread. If you find inspiration you cling to it for dear life. It takes you a while to realise if the inspiration has morphed into a weight on your shoulders and is holding you back.
It is to be expected Shaun will collapse from lack of sleep at any moment but he remains chatty and upbeat. This energy probably comes from the nervousness of what will follow.
“The adrenalin is still going because I don’t know who my director or cast are.” Come 10am he will probably crumple into a heap where he is standing.
So is Shaun happy with the script?
“I’m definitely not unhappy with it because whatever happens it’s my first script for 14/48, I handed it in on time and it’s done so fuck it.” Director Hannah Torrence is nearby and she spins around. “That is genuinely the only criteria for the script. Come 9 o’clock it’s one of our problems.”
There is a chorus of approval. Shaun’s script was chosen by fellow Wolfpacker Fran Richards. They have discussed the script and we await the actors draw. Shaun sits back in his chair, his arm propping up his head. He might not make 10am.
5th May 2017. 09:45