2009 and The Boy in The Room is moving slowly forward. Too slowly, but at the moment that’s the way life is. I’m in the strange position of adapting for the stage a radio play which wasn’t actually written in the first place. It ought to be straightforward but then if a radio play is any good it will have been conceived in radio terms from the outset – before a word of dialogue has gone down – and will have to be completely re-thought. You can’t just take a structure and a series of scenes that would have worked on radio and put them on stage. You’re filling different spaces, one aural, the other physical.
One of the big issues I had to sort out was what to do with the photographs, both the image at the centre of the play and the ones which line the walls at the various exhibitions. On radio this problem solved itself. The images would have looked wonderful because we would have been creating them ourselves. On stage it’s different. The central picture wasn’t too much of a problem. I clearly couldn’t mock up a photo of some kind and use a blown up version of that. It would have been far to literal and couldn’t have lived up to the expectations placed on it by the narrative. But what I can do is recreate it with actors. That’s going to work well. The difficult decision was what to do with the others. In the end I’ve decided to do without them. As Ivan pointed out “Art” only worked as a play because we never saw the picture that was at the centre of the story. So. No photographic images at all in a narrative laden with photographs and photographers. That decision freed me up at once. There will be plenty more to come.
I”m not at all sure I can solve all these problems. But writing the play at last is much more satisfying than trying to write a pitch that may or may not sell it to someone else. Sometimes you need to remind yourself what it is you do.