Greg Glover - writer of Family and Beast
How long have you been writing plays?
I grew up in an area where plays and theatre were things that other people did. It was only when I lived in Germany in my early twenties that I became a regular theatre goer, as it seemed so much more a part of people's lives there, that it gave me the drive and confidence to start writing.
What made you want to write them in the first place?
Even though I'm tone deaf I made sure that I wrote the lyrics for every loud, shouty band that I was ever in. I loved how much passion could be conveyed in so few words but youthful enthusiasm soon gave way to wanting to create whole worlds rather than just communicating in sound bites. I loved the simplicity of the form, the variety and how easy it was to connect with an audience but especially how it helped me to make sense of the world around me.
When was your first play and how did it come about?
My first play ever to see the light of day was an incredibly dark comedy about two people wanting to commit suicide called, Jumping to Conclusions. It was a mad, poetic piece that I could never ever imagine making it onto a stage but luckily I joined a writers group that had just been set up to raise the profile of a new theatre where I was living. We were a motley bunch who met in a run down leisure centre, where amid the screams and stones bouncing off the wire mesh I managed to get my idea off the ground and into a totally different theatre.
If you could work with one actor who would it be?
Mark Rylance is a force of nature, harking back to a bygone era of mavericks and showmen. Whenever I've seen him I've always been amazed at how someone can bring so much charisma and physicality to a part. I think that as a writer you could have total confidence in him to be able to flesh out your character to almost bursting point, as he'd take them to places you'd probably never even thought of.
When you are writing what does your day look like?
Working full time means that I have to be really disciplined and make the time to write, which can often be late in the evening. As this isn't ideal I try to make sure that I've already played around with any ideas I've got and given them some shape, so that I don't waste any time when I'm sitting in front of the laptop.
If you could invite three writers to dinner who would they be?
Conor Mcpherson because I just love his work. There's no messing, no pretence he's just straight in there with stories that I could listen to over and over again.
Gary Owen because he is one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet and helped me a great deal when he mentored me as part of The Royal Court, 24 Degrees project.
Simon Stephens because everything he seems to do has class stamped right through it.
What's your earliest memory of theatre?
Just the word pantomime brings me out in a cold sweat, as I'm immediately transported back to a hot sweaty little theatre and the carnage created by the girl sitting next to me being sick. Nobody cared anymore for Jack and his extremely tired schtick, as the whole place erupted and we were asked to leave. It wasn't until a number of years later that I again ventured into a theatre to see a brilliant production of Mother Courage and Her Children by Brecht, which totally mirrored my teenage mood of angst and alienation.
During the last year which piece of work that you have seen has been inspirational?
I thought that the Waking Exploits production of Pornography by Simon Stephens in Chapter, Cardiff was fantastic. It was amazing to see such a visceral production, where the disintegrating set mirrored the carefully constructed chaos of the lives we were seeing. It captured the zeitgeist perfectly, posed the big questions but what stayed with me more than anything was the banality in amongst the horror.
Why theatre and not film or TV?
With only a few notable exceptions television and film seem to have been a victory of style over substance in recent years. So much seems pedestrian and formulaic, which as I know from personal experience is often down to the writer's voice becoming so diluted as to be almost unrecognisable. Theatre allows me to take risks, to write what I'm passionate about, and to be involved in the whole creative process. I look forward to the times I can sit down and write plays because the buzz I get when I know I've got something good makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.