Why did you write Blue Tape?
We were given the brief to write a 10 minute piece, inspired by the T. S. Eliot quote 'you are the music while the music lasts' including themes of youth and apathy.
To be honest I'm not a big fan of T.S. Eliot, so while I touched on this quote I tried to think about young people and ask myself the question are young people any different today? I think young people share the same thoughts, pressures and worries I did, but there are increased pressures now more than ever.
John Clarke Has Something to Say - Verbally Challenged
Blue Tape and the Creative Process
How did you get into acting and why is theatre to you today?
I've been a performer since childhood. I attended drama and dance classes at a nearby stage school and I absolutely loved it! Although I also pursued a business career, I took the opportunity a few years ago to work full-time as an actress and I still absolutely love it!
Blue Tape had to be rehearsed and performed in the same day, can you describe the process you went through to prepare for the show?
The process of preparation for Blue Tape actually began at home by reading and re-reading the script. This allows me to gain perspective on what's really going on in the story - the writer's intent is all important.
How would you describe the character you played?
Young, playful, volatile and naive.
What does Blue Tape signify to you?
For me, Blue Tape signifies a subtle, sometimes humourous metaphor for the expression of troubled young people living in a world of conflict.
Describe in 3 words, what is was like working with the creative team?
Challenging, stimulating and exciting
Find out more about Nicola Gardner at: www.nicolagardneractress.co.uk
On 13th November 2013, the Contact Theatre in Manchester challenged playwrights to write a 10-minute script in response to the following TS Eliot quote: "you are the music while the music lasts."
The plays were rehearsed and performed on the same day. Our creative agent Potsuki speaks to client John Clarke, a fierce voice and playwright with over a decade of work, about his new short play Blue Tape, his "creative process" and also catches up with the actors.
John Clarke, Playwright on Blue Tape (2013)
I am very worried about the level of knife crime among young people that goes unreported. I don't see why this doesn't aggrieve the nation.
We should be ashamed. For some young people carrying a knife is as simple and as necessary as carrying a phone. However in Blue Tape it is the tape that is central, not the knife so I wanted to represent young people as intelligent and creative. If young people were nurtured, empowered and felt valued, they wouldn't feel the need to carry knives.
How do you go from an idea to a stage production; what is your "creative process"?
I generally start with the characters and then work out to a kind of narrative. I'm not a typical storyteller though. This goes hand in hand with having the 'idea' whatever that may mean. I dislike being asked ''what are you trying to do with this piece" as I feel that is limiting.
The magical thing about drama is that anything is possible and that trying to define things explicitly is as easy as trying to define explicitly what it is like to be human. Drama is limitless. Only by truly working together in an ethos of equality do you get a good production.
The writer is not the centre of everything. Writers can always learn from other people, other creatives. I can sometimes feel anxious about one of my plays, but the world has this way of pushing me to the edge of the cliff or suffocating me under water and then I remember it's just a play, a story, a way. Sometimes hearing people talk about their lives is better than Shakespeare or any playwright could imagine.
Nicola Gardner, Actress plays young person Becks
Nicola Gardner, a LAMDA accredited actress has performed with RADA to much acclaim, including Shakespearian drama.
Nicola has also appeared in television series' including Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Brookside. She has worked in radio and writes comedy.
Potsuki, our creative agent caught up with Nicola to find out more about her role as young person Becks in Blue Tape.
Do you have a favourite character in the play?
This play is a short piece so I probably don't know the characters that well. I like that the female characters are strong, that they drive the action and the narrative. I always like strong women!
John Clarke joined the client list in July 2013. His full profile can be found here.
Follow John Clarke