This weekend I went to see a friend, Will Perkins', play, ‘Development Hell’. The wonderfully witty, play on words in the title very much captures the nature of the play. It is dominated by the emotional battle of Will’s protagonists, Michelle and Tim, unearthing their scandalous, sketchy and sinful pasts in a quest to acquire a play script that could propel both their careers forward exponentially. Tim wrote it. Michelle wants it. But will their friendship- or should I possibly ask, will they- survive?
Will, who is currently in Upper Sixth, kindly answered a few of my questions about his work and sources of inspiration.
Firstly, sorry to be so cliched, but what first got you into writing?
When when I was younger, my school did an annual winter show. For the remainder of the year, there wasn't anything else on, so I decided to write my own work with friends from my own Year.
Your work was very much in within the realms of black humour. For me, the witty and ironic tone of the play was reminiscent of James Franco’s short story collection and its conformity to the Aristotelian unity of time and its focus on ‘relationship dynamics’ held strong parallels to the greats such as Arthur Miller and Eugene O’Neil. Are there any particular plays/playwrights/literary figures or forms etc that you aspire to/inspired you?
It’s a mixture. The trilogy that I'm writing at the moment is heavily influenced by Yazmina Reza (look her up: excellent), but I am interested in pretty much everything: Beckett, Berkoff, Albee, Stoppard… etc, to name just a few playwrights. If you're looking, you can find inspiration in pretty much anything, be it a Kate Bush song or what your mum said over dinner.
(side note: Yasmina Reza (born 1 May 1959) is a French playwright, actress, novelist and screenwriter best known for her plays 'Art' and 'God of Carnage'. Many of her brief satiric plays reflect on contemporary middle-class issues).
Any tips for other young - or old - writers?
Just begin. Read, write, watch and repeat. Don't be afraid to copy/adapt for inspiration - very few things are entirely original.