Many years back, 1986 to be precise, I watched a particularly arty-farty piece of dramatic self-indulgence at Cumbernauld Theatre one night, and was a bit vocal in my criticism of its’ script, in the theatre bar after the show
When asked, in a challenging manner, if I “could do any better” as it was easy to criticise, I boldly claimed that I’d written better myself.
The director of Cumbernauld Theatre overheard the argument and offered me a weekend slot in the theatre’s programme which had just become vacant … effectively calling my bluff!!
I said .. “Ok, I’ll do it!” … they asked what the play was called … I boldly replied “BALLS” … the first thing that came into my head
I then had, as far as I remember, some 12 weeks to write it, get a cast, rehearse, do posters, costumes and a stage-set
Gathering together a line-up of my mates … all but one had never acted before … we worked our arses off, and much to our surprise had great fun, damn good audiences, and a rather positive approval on the night … ie big laughs and no complaints … and were even asked to do a second run of the play
That experience was quite seminal in my own new attitude as a fledgling writer who was entering a bigger arena, than just doing songs and funny wee bits at Scabaret gigs
The cast were magnificent in their dedication, humour, and inventiveness, and I wrote & rewrote the script as we rehearsed it … changing it to suit individual strengths and talents, which were a totally unknown entity when we first started
Craig (Bracko) Brackenridge, Trisha Barjonas, Aln McNiven, Chris Hendry, Jimmy Jazz, Jim Dorman, Maggi, and the inimitable Malcolm McIlraith, all made it a brilliant experience and one I dearly cherish in the auld memory-banks … and much inspiration was also supplied by local artist/writer Brian Miller, who started my acting “career” in his own, fine, home-grown productions
Huge thanx to them all
And, in particular to Malcolm, who passed away while in Nepal in 2007, whilst working as a guide on the lower slopes of Everest, at the fine auld age of only 69 years old … a fine example of going out in style, and undoubtedly one of the nicest, friendliest, most inspiring friends I’ve ever had the pleasure to know