Thursday, November 09, 2006

SteveThompson interview

Playwright Steve Thompson talks to Brian Logan in The Times, ahead of the opening of his new play Whipping It Up.
Thompson is...a novice playwright — at 39, he has written professionally only since 2004. He was a schoolteacher for ten years, before quitting to play house-husband and childcarer while his barrister partner worked. That’s when he started writing.

His first play, Damages, about a night lawyer in a scurrilous tabloid newspaper office (the play was based on his wife’s experiences), had a sell-out run at the Bush two years ago.

Whipping It Up is the second in a trilogy of what Thompson describes as his “work plays” — plays set in work environments rather than (as theatre tends to prefer) living rooms, bedrooms or pubs. “I love the rhythm of the workplace,” says Thompson. “Nobody can sit still and do an aria and talk about their life and loves. Real life seeps out quietly while you’re busy doing your job.”

(Thompson’s next instalment, currently under commission, is to be set in the City of London.) Is his interest in “work plays” related to the fact that, unlike most writers, he spent years working nine-to-five in a proper job? “If I had tried to write a play when I was 21,” he agrees, “I wouldn’t have had anything to write about.”

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