5 Minutes with Deborah Morgan
Deborah Morgan is a Liverpool based Writer and is a graduate of the Everyman & Playhouse Playwrights’ Programme. In 2013, her first script, Endlessly Dead, was longlisted for the BBC’s Alfred Bradley Award. In May 2016, Deborah was commissioned to write a ten minute piece for the Everyman and Playhouse Theatres Everyword Festival.
Why did you decide to apply for the Playwrights’ Programme at e&P?
I decided to apply for a place on the Playwrights’ Programme, because I have, for over twenty years, wanted to discover more about writing for stage. I greatly admire actors, and the way they deliver a story live on stage, that experience is astonishing. I love being close to the stage, to not take my eyes off the actors, to not miss any of the drama. If you stopped and stared at people on the street arguing, you’d probably get told off, or beat up. Theatre is a safe place to be up-close nosy.
How did the Playwrights’ Programme help your development as a writer?
Enormously. Reading three plays a week, seeing shows at the e&P for free, having accomplished playwrights deliver workshops, and feedback on our writing was invaluable. Feedback from e&P staff on our final pieces meant that my writing skills progressed and became much stronger, than if I had been writing at home alone. I met people on the Playwrights’ Programme that I have a great deal in common with; we are still friends, which is great.
Your short story: In the Event of an Emergency, Please Do Not Open the Windows, was recently performed as part of Everyword Presents... Stories From the City, what was your inspiration for the piece?
My inspiration for the piece came from a man called, Nasser, who travelled to the UK from a small village in Yemen in 1958 on a cruise liner, with a ticket his brother had bought for him. I loved the humour in the story about the huge bowl of eggs he ate that first morning from the buffet, fearful he would not eat again during the two week voyage. That made me laugh, and I was eager to meet him and his son. I like the challenge of writing about what I don’t know, and I thought this story resonated with the invisible city theme.
How did it feel to hear your story read out in the Everyman?
Surreal. After more than twenty years of being an audience member at e&P, and hearing a piece I’d written being spoken, made me fill up; I was grateful to be asked to become involved with the The Invisible City, and thought all of the pieces were fantastic.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a musical theatre piece, entitled: Forest Gump’s Mum Got It Wrong. The main character, Rea, is sixteen years old, her Nan takes her to the theatre to see, Les Miserables, and she becomes obsessed with the theatre, the characters and the music, she practises the songs from the show for months secretly under her duvet, and discovers not only can she sing, but she can write songs. There is a dark, sad story threaded through the piece, relating to her grandparents. It’s crazy, and poignant and funny. I’m having so much fun writing it, which I think is a good sign.
What has been your favourite production, or moment, at e&P?
There have been many moments and many productions, though I’ll try and keep this short. I’m a big fan of Leanne Best; she has this energy on stage that is nothing less than magical. I loved The Match Box, and Educating Rita. I actually got to meet Willy Russell one night; he signed my programme, which was incredible. In both plays Leanne was stunning. Dead Dog in a Suitcase was spectacular. It stayed with you long after you had left the theatre. Lizzie Nunnery’s The Swallowing Dark was such a powerful piece, the story and the set, the whole thing was deeply moving. Yellowman is a play that made me weep many years ago, as did, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing recently; all of these pieces examine big themes, the power and fragility of humanity. That’s why I love the experience theatre offers, like in life, things can go wrong; it’s the level of vulnerability theatre offers that is completely captivating.