About a thousand years ago I wrote a play called The Trans Woman’s Wife, about my experiences of being married to someone with gender dysphoria. ‘What is it like when your husband doesn’t have another woman but is another woman?’ was the strapline (at least I think that’s what they call it but that might only be for films.) I can’t remember if I sent it to the BBC – I probably didn’t because I don’t think it’s ready yet and in any case opportunities for new writers are shrinking year on year faster than the government’s moral compass. Writersroom is virtually the only place to submit and their windows are only open for a short period every year. However I have just found a site called Upload where you can send them anything at all, so I’ll probably give that a try.
I am trying to practice non-attachment to results in this regard and finding it extraordinarily difficult. Non-attachment is a yoga practice (also a Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist and probably Christian idea too) where you try to detach yourself from the fruits of your efforts. Nowadays we tend to judge our efforts purely by the outcome but yoga says that the effort is its own reward. This sounds like something my Grandma used to say and I found it very annoying because I want the rewards. I want them badly. Don’t we all? But I can see the point, because if you’re happy with what you’ve done it doesn’t matter what others think; you’re not tossed about on the winds of public opinion.
I’ve only really attempted radio plays because I don’t think I’d be much good at the stage variety. I have a good ear for sound and dialogue but I don’t have a sense of ‘the theatre’ – of the space people perform in and what something looks like on stage. So I’ll leave that palm to Alan Bennett and carry on doing what I’m doing.
SPOILER ALERT Speaking of Bennett, we went to the cinema at the weekend to see ‘Alleluia’, a film about a geriatric ward based on an AB play. This was enthralling to watch with a great cast including Judi Dench, Jennifer Saunders, Russell Tovey and Derek Jacobi. The Bethlehem ward, known affectionately as The Beth, is under threat of closure from a government which doesn’t see the value of caring (sound familiar?) The place seems idyllic; caring and supportive with all-inclusive activities such as singing and games. It made me yearn for a time when people had the time to care. But all is not as it seems; the nursing sister played by Saunders, is quietly bumping off some of the patients by injecting morphine when they get too old. Judi Dench’s character, unwilling to take part in a TV programme that’s being compiled, is given a tablet to record her own views. In the process she accidentally records the sister injecting the morphine – and everything becomes unravelled. It’s a story of murder but what stuck with me was the caring of the staff – even the nursing sister – and the fact that they had the time to do it. Jennifer Saunders was a revelation in this straight role and though there were massive stars in the cast there was never a sense of there being starring roles. Everyone was more or less equal and everyone had a voice. It made me nostalgic.
I think I’ll send the radio play to Upload. That’s if I can get it into a PFD format; it seems particularly resistant to assuming that shape just at the moment.
If anyone would like to read the play please comment below and I’ll attach it. NB please note that copyright has been legally established – not that any of my readers would dream of passing my work off as their own. Just saying…