Q&A | Louise Monaghan | Playwright

To give you a sneak preview of Now We Are Three we’ve been talking to the writers about their plays and working as a playwright.

In Louise’s play Touched by Tom Daley two bored teenagers are driven to distraction by their supermarket deli job and take any chance to escape reality. So when a genuine celebrity walks in, this is an opportunity not to be missed.

What prompted you to write Touched by Tom Daley?
I wanted to write a play that would appeal to young people and decided to write a play that explored celebrity culture.  I wondered if it was necessarily such a bad thing and decided that there are some celebrities who provide positive role models for young people and I think Tom Daley is one of them.

What do you think the audience will like about it?
It’s difficult to say what an audience will like about the piece.  Different people like different things but I hope they will respond to the idea that celebrity culture has a positive side and that teenagers can be sensitive and compassionate individuals.

How do you hope the piece will develop throughout the rehearsal process and its performance in Descent?
The play’s been redrafted a couple of times.  I’m always open to constructive criticism but equally aware that there’s no such thing as a perfect play and I do think there’s a danger in overworking pieces.  I’ll be very interested to see how other artists respond to the work and excited by the prospect of what they will bring to it.  I’m sure there are things that will change as we all work together to bring the play to life.

How did you get into writing?
I started writing when my sister was terminally ill in hospital.  There were things I wanted to say to her that I found difficult so I wrote to her instead.  She found some of the letters amusing and shared them with other patients.  She urged me to take up writing so I decided to give it a go and I’m very glad that I did.

Which writers inspire you?
My favourite playwrights are Jez Butterworth, Terrence Rattigan and Caryl Churchill.  I love novels by Anne Tyler and Charles Dickens and I’ll watch anything by Jimmy McGovern.  He’s a genius.

What’s your favourite play and why?
I don’t really have a favourite play but something that I loved last year was Monkey Bars.  30 8-10 year olds were asked to talk about their lives, their thoughts, their worlds.  Their words were spoken by adults playing adults in adult situations.  The truth and clarity of this play was astonishing.  It was one of the best lessons in playwriting I’ve been to in a long, long time.  Just tell it how it is like a nine year old and you won’t go too far wrong!

Touched by Tom Daley will be performed as part of Now We Are Three from 20-24 August at Southwark PlayhouseMore info

About Louise
Louise Monaghan is an award winning playwright who recently won the Papatango New Writing Festival 2012. Her winning play PACK opened to rave reviews at the Finborough Theatre in November 2012 where it ran until the end of the year and her new play MY SPACE will premiere at the 24:7 Festival in Manchester this month. In July 2012 her radio play directed and produced by Jessica Dromgoole, ALONE IN THE GARDEN WITH YOU was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Louise is a past winner of the Judges Award Bruntwood Prize for her play SHADOWPLAY in 2011 and was a finalist for both The London Fringe Festival’s Theatre Writing Award 2010 and Little Brother Productions Big Opportunity 2011 with her play AURORA. Louise recently participated in Invertigo Theatre’s High Tide Takeover, as one of the writers for Senses, a collection of new short plays created, rehearsed, and produced in just 10 days. She is also co founder and Theatre Co-ordinator for the Steyning Festival and a member of Theatre Centre’s Skylines writing group, a new writing initiative to develop new work for children and young people.

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