Abandoned: a work in progress, now a new play.

I had the good fortune to attend not one, but two playwriting courses led by Simon Vinnicombe, (He’s in the pink shirt, at the back and in front of a window.) I have now developed Abandoned into a 5 act play with a prologue.

It has received various drafts and initially had two narratives, one about James’ journey of discovery,  contrasting with  the development of DNA as a source for good; now featuring heavily in paternity suits and murder investigations.

Simon said…”You can’t give your audience two narratives, you just can’t do that”. And having bit the bullet and jettisoned quite a few scenes, that has been a major learning process, to keep James as the protagonist, in the forefront of the action.

James was in his late thirties when his mother, Monica died, a shattering blow. But what he discovered, was even more upsetting. First it was adoption, then abandonment. And who did they say his father was?

I was first introduced to this story when I attended a writing workshop run by playwright Fin Kennedy, which focused on what happens when you have used all your good ideas for your plays. How do you keep on writing?

Fin’s approach is to use detailed research and  interviews about peoples real lives and  one activity was to choose a newspaper article and this one  caught my eye.

 I had been discovered on a doorstep by a paperboy”

The story is both unique and moving and despite being presented with a range challenging issues, what struck me, was his humanity. This man who had spent spent a life-time as a geneticist and that got me thinking of incorporating the story of modern genetics into a journey of discovery into who he really was.

Update 2021:

The play has had a number of different version, none of which have generated interest in a submission or competition. I have had a range of conversations with theatre professionals and I am working through their suggestions. It is an important story that needs to be told.