Category Archives: plays

Goethe and Shakespeare

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“We’re doing Romeo and Juliet,” my daughter told me yesterday.
“Oh yeah?” I said. “Is it part of your English class?”
She looked at me and shook her head. “No. German.”
Auf Deutsch? Seriously?
“You’re kidding? Why would you be doing it in German?”
“I don’t know. We just are.”


That the Germans have a love of Shakespeare is a well known fact, but that he is integrated into the high school curriculum in translation suggests their love is as profound as any recounted by the bard himself. Even the one in question. It also suggests that besides Goethe, whose poems seem to occupy a 90 share of the syllabus, and have to be learned ad infinitum and recited ad nauseum, there are no German writers – dead or alive – worthy of presentation to the Facebook generation. Impossible. Or should that be Unmöglich!

Knocking on the workshop door

I read an interview with writer Jenn Ashworth the other day, in which she spoke (among other things) about how belonging to a writer’s group can be a useful way of pinpointing which parts of a draft do and don’t work.

I totally get where she’s coming from. I love writing workshops. I remember the first one I attended, and how the nervousness I felt in anticipation of the event was unexpectedly dwarfed by the thrill of hearing people – then strangers – voice their considered opinions about my words, plot, characters etc.

I have since been a part of several different workshop groups, and have been along to a number of one-off meetings, and I can say with the exception of one session I have found them all to be hugely, wonderfully helpful. Not only as a way of divining what works (both from other’s comments and writing), but as a means of growing confidence; of knowing when to listen to the instincts of a reader, and when to trust my own.

I mentioned in an earlier post about unruly children that I was attending a series of (play and screenplay) workshop run by CJ Hopkins. Those have now finished, and it won’t be long before the final draft of the play I presented at them will be too.

I may have reached the same point of near completion in the same time frame without a string of Tuesday night trips to a writer’s room in Berlin’s Kreuzberg, but even if I had, I think there would still be question marks hanging over the piece. And the only one I want to see hanging anywhere is at the end.

Click here to read the Jenn Ashworth interview, conducted by writer Rachel Connor

Category: Berlin, plays, Writing | Tags: , ,

Molly reviews

Three performances into its run, Molly Eyre has generated a couple of reviews. One in the Mainpost, which can be read in German here, and one in the Fränkische Nachrichten (also in German). For those who don’t read German, scroll down for a couple of excerpts in translation…

Young mothers juggle family and career as the ingenious comedy “Molly Eyre” takes the studio stage at Würzburg’s Mainfranken Theatre

It’s not easy being a mother. Young women with children are no strangers to demands –be they related to the incompatibilities of career and family, or “merely” to the expectations of children, partners and other family members. In her comedy Molly Eyre, British-born, Berlin-dwelling author Tamsin Kate Walker homes in on this juggling act, which pushes women to extremes. In his multifaceted role as director, set and costume designer, Jürgen Weber conjured up a witty and entertaining production…

This playful approach is inherent in Walker’s text, which sees Molly make the creative process of the play a part of the play itself – a self-reflective plot device, which is not unusual for post-modern authors, but which is rarely done so coherently. It is this second level in particular that keeps the 75 minutes filled with surprising twists and turns, so that by the end of the performance, the colour and use of the kindergarten room have ceased to matter…

…A racy evening, highly recommendable. (Mainpost, 11.12.2013)

Mike Scott and Molly Eyre

So the premiere of Molly Eyre has now been and gone. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I went with no idea of what to expect… Would the director have made cuts? Would he have staged it in the way it was written? Would he have included the same number of phallic symbols that generally adorn the stage of productions under his directorship?

Answers: No cuts, no phalli, and a fantastically playful and entertaining staging that had the audience laughing in more places than I had originally intended. One lady in her eighties told me afterwards that she had rarely laughed so much. I choose to think that says more about the play, and the actresses’ engaging performances than it does about said lady’s life ;)

Although I know the play well, and although I worked on its translation from English to German, there were turns of phrase I had forgotten about, whole sequences of unexpected action – including yoga-batics and roller skating – and four women I had never seen before delivering the lines. I was captivated.

Another surprising element to the staging was the use of musical vignettes between scenes. Each track lent itself perfectly to the mood of the moment, just as the mood enhanced the melody of the same moment.

As the play neared its end, the Tartuffian character was sent the way of her sort, and the Misanthrope, the Hypochondriac and Molly herself exchanged the final words of the piece, the (to me) familiar bars of Mike Scott’s What do you want me to do? filled the room. The actresses moved in slow motion to the sound of his husky Scottish voice admitting to having tried doing things his own way, doing what people say, but going nowhere fast. “I’ve been a fool, and I’ve been a clown, I let the enemy turn me around, I’ve wasted love and I’ve wasted time, I’ve been proud and I’ve been blind,” he continued, before asking the eponymous question “What do you want me to do?”

Answers: Mike Scott, keep on making songs like that one. Edith Abels, Anne Simmering, Anna Sjöström and Christina Theresa Motsch, keep acting. You were a pleasure, an absolute joy to watch. Thank you!


Category: plays, Writing | Tags: , ,

Molly Eyre

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As I write, the rehearsals for the premiere of the first ever staging of my play Molly Eyre are drawing to a close. Thursday night is the night, and I am pretty excited about seeing the piece performed. I haven’t been able to attend any of the rehearsals to watch the characters come alive, but have been following director Jürgen Weber’s blog to try and gain some insight into what to expect on the night. It doesn’t give much away though, so I will have to do as the he told me, and just wait and see.

Uta Treff from Molly Eyre drinking tea


The play is scheduled to run (in German) until May at the Mainfranken Theater in the historic Bavarian city of Würzburg.

Molly Eyre throws together four mothers, who have been given the task of agreeing on a new use for a room at the kindergarten their children attend. Sounds simple? Not so when manipulation, opportunism, jealousy, insecurity are at the table with them.

In writing this play, I borrowed the main characters and plot elements from three Molière plays – The Imaginary Invalid, The Hypocrite, The Misanthrope – and wove them back together to show not only how fiction reflects reality, but how reality can be informed by fiction.

Category: plays, Writing | Tags: , ,