As the closing date for the National Script Workshops approaches, we ask playwright Didem Caia to share her experience developing Vile
Didem Caia is an emerging playwright based in Melbourne. Her script, Vile, was a recipient of the RE Ross Trust Playwrights’ Script Development Award and was developed by Playwriting Australia at the National Script Workshop in September 2013. It premiers at La Mama Theatre in July directed by Elizabeth Millington.
What did you feel was the most important thing you needed to bring Vile to a first draft?
The most important thing that Vile was in need of was an arc. Being that the play takes place in two different time frames, ten years apart, the necessary components and story elements were waiting to be discovered, in order to justify the reason behind showing characters at both ends of a decade. When I begin a play, I always have a clear idea of mood, tone and imagery of the world I am creating, and I know the characters I want to depict within the environment. With Vile, the clarity of obstacles and points of tension within the relationships I was creating needed to be sharpened and behaviors, goals and blocks needed to be bolder.
How did the National Script Workshop contribute to your development as a young, unproduced playwright?
Every development that I’ve been involved in so far has been different, it will all depend on how far along the draft is. When I went into development with PWA, my play was a skeleton, and even though the time spent in the room didn’t rapidly lead to a new draft, it definitely worked to open up a chest of questions pertinent to the success of the final draft. I think as a new writer, it’s important to get a grasp on the many ways in which plays can be wrought, and from this, pick the tools and exercises that best work for you, because every playwright has their own individual trigger, process and creative tonic, which injects rigor into their work.
What for you are the key elements of a healthy play development?
I have always found sanctuary in working with people who share my vision, values and creative approach, but at times it is equally enlightening to work with those who use their creative energy in different ways to me. I believe that a healthy play development is one where everyone in the room feels equal and safe enough to express their ideas. I am adamant that rapport and encouragement of constructive criticism in the space, expressed in language and tone that is positive and inviting, fuels the writer to want to write a next draft. By no means, should the writer walk away from a development having lost faith in their vision.
What would you say to another playwright who has never been professionally produced before?
Professional production is the goal of a playwright. We engage in this form in order for our plays to be performed, and hopefully resuscitated time and time again. I can only hope that with each play, I inch closer and closer to truths and closer and closer to new and innovative forms of storytelling. I think that constant education is vital for a playwright. I guess it depends on what you’ve defined your purpose as a playwright to be. But if your purpose is to be constantly responding to the ever-changing world around us, then I would suggest developing an addiction to learning. Life experiences and their individual way of seeing the world will always find a way into the work, this is inevitable. But in order to distill the myriad stimuli that one is faced with every day, technique, precision and honing of the craft is important.
Finally, where is Vile since the National Script Workshop?
Since the National Script Workshop in September 2013, Vile has been re-written, with the assistance of my dramaturg and important friend, Hannie Rayson, and is currently in rehearsal for our July 16 premier of the play, at La Mama Theatre in Melbourne. The play is being directed by Elizabeth Millington and stars some very inspiring Melbourne actors. The season will run from July 16 – 27.
National Script Workshop applications close on Friday 11 July 2014, 5pm.
Click here for more info
|Didem graduated from NIDA in 2013 with a Graduate Diploma in Drama (Playwrighting). She has since been awarded the Grace Marion Wilson fellowship, the RE Ross Trust Playwright’s Award for Script Development, been invited to attend the National Script Workshop and had readings and work produced through subtleuance, melbourne writers theatre and the Griffin Theatre 24 Hour Play Generator. In 2014 Didem has been awarded grants from the Australia Council, Copyright Agency and the Ian Potter Cultural Trust to travel to the US and the UK to learn about new forms and dramaturgy. Didem’s play Vile, will also have its Australian premiere at La Mama Theatre in July.|