Q&A | Pete Goodland | Playwright

To get you ready for our April Shorts we’ve been talking to all the writers about their plays and working as a playwright.

The first of our April playwrights is Pete Goodland, whose verbatim play Feckless explores the struggle to claim incapacity benefit and the failings of a system that allows those in need to slip through the cracks.

What prompted you to write Feckless?
The mean mendacious nature of this bile spewing coalition. I never thought I’d live to witness a more right wing contemptible government than that of Thatcher’s. But if one lives long enough… However, that man should be so callous towards their own citizens ought to surprise no one. The original title ‘Feckless’ I later changed to ‘Window licker ‘ a disparaging term I encountered through the doyen of care and compassion… Mr George Galloway.

What do you think the audience will like about it?
As a verbatim piece maybe it should inform or anger or engage but this can be said for all forms of theatre.

How do you hope the piece will develop through the rehearsal process and its performance in Descent?
There’s plenty of material out there, so in terms of development I could imagine it expanding into something broader. I envisage the possibility of a circus setting where a ‘barker’ type character introduces the ‘grotesques’ i.e. those with disabilities to a baying, ridiculing audience.

How did you get into writing?
An absence of full time work and an empty notepad.

Which writers inspire you?
Well, as benchmarks it must be Pinter, Miller and Beckett. I can never tire of their ceaseless variety, depth and invention.

What’s your favourite play?
I suppose year on year one reflects on a great play seen and sometimes this may be production, cast, lighting and set – oh, and place too – but not necessarily the writing. So plays I’m constantly drawn back to might be Salesman, No Man’s Land or Happy Days. Why? Buy me a beer, pull up a chair, and let’s chat until the early bus – I may even get a round in myself… eventually.

Feckless will be performed as part of Descent Shorts on the 5th April at Rich Mix. More info

About Pete
Pete’s play Bessemer Mucho is presently in rehearsal at the Crucible Theatre as a collection of perspectives on 21st century Sheffield. Other writing credits include; The Manhattan Project; Regeneration; several shorts performed at the Royal and Basement in York including Model Boy, Grief, Marbles and Solitary; Alphabet Soup, Newcastle Live website; Megan, Sheffield University website; For the Love of Paulo Maldini’s Mother; The Uncle in the RAF, Barnsley Theatre Group; Oh!; Cartography; Traffic; George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, and Cole Porter at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

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