Exciting Writing by Paddy Gormley
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Paddy Gormley's first plays, in the late 1980s, were intended for impromptu performance after dinner, and were written in rhyming verse. In the 1990s, PG developed proseverse, a style of writing that flows as fluently as prose but owes its lyrical quality to the use of changing metres and hidden rhymes.  Many of the projects listed here are written in proseverse. 

Paddy Gormley's development as a playwright owes much to his membership, since 1999, of Actors & Writers London (AWL) and, in particular, to his many opportunities for work with AWL's professional actors and directors.  Most of the audio and video excerpts featured here or linked from this page are based on live performances or readings by AWL colleagues.

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2020 Vision

Twenty-Twenty, written in 2000, was Paddy Gormley's first verse play to be set in modern times.  It told the story of Alec's love affairs with three women in 1960 (aged 20), 1980 and 2000 respectively.  The project faltered because PG was unable to find a way of connecting the three plots in what was than present time.  

In 2015, he devised a further plot, set in 2020, in which Alec, now aged 80, looks back on his first love, with Belinda in 1960, and his fruitless attempts to regain that first love following Belinda's premature death. The play was renamed 2020 Vision.

The project has been taken upenthusiastically by director Maurice Thorogood. The 2020 Vision project remains under development. A rehearsed reading by Farnham Rep is planned for May 2017.

2020 Vision: a love story told over sixty years
THE WOLD WIDE WEB

The Wold Wide Web was conceived in 2000 as an afternoon play for radio.  Paddy Gormley revised the script in 2010 in readiness for a studio recording by Milosh Drndarevic.  This work has prompted Paddy Gormley to think that the recording of The Wold Wide Web could provide the soundtrack for an animated film.

Naive house spider Arac, washed down a plughole in the bathroom, emerges into the wide wold, where he is befriended by woldly wise spider Nid

Nid teaches Arac about life in the wold, drawing upon his extensive knowledge of wildlife, gained by watching nature programmes on television during his years as a house spider. 

Arac's conceptual knowledge of the world is derived exclusively from his years of listening to the bathroom radio, so he is extremely keen to understand the relationship between, say, the cricket on the radio and the crickets he encounters in the wild and, as the title of the play suggests, the relationship between the wold wide web and the webs that he spins in the wide wold. 

Click the image on the right for the Wold Wide Website, including audio excerpts from the rehearsed reading in June 2010 by Actors & Writers London.  The broadcast-ready recording is available to producers on request.

Click here for The Wold Wide Web site
MISANTHROPE II

Misanthrope II is Paddy Gormley's mistranslation of Molière's Le Misanthrope, The adaptation was written in 1995 and 1996.

Broadly speaking, Paddy Gormley's text and plot are faithful to Molière's masterpiece.  The crucial difference is that Philinte is determined to persuade Alceste to build a better world by being less misanthropic.  His sustained campaign has an increasingly disruptive effect on the action of the play. 

Misanthrope II is remarkable for its language and innovative verse technique.  Alceste is a pedant and a wordsmith, who delights in complex words and constructions.  Paddy Gormley assigns different metrical schemes to each character, reflecting their respective personalities. 

Martin Cort, who directed the rehearsed reading by Actors & Writers London in March 2008, believes that Misanthrope II deserves a major production.  He has created a promotional audio CD for producers, including excerpts from the rehearsed reading, punctuated by his own commentary. 

Click the image on the right for the Misanthrope II website, which includes a click-to-play extract from the CD and a PDF showing excerpts from the play alongside the corresponding text of Molière's original. 

Click here for the Misanthrope II website

THE SOCIAL CLIMBER
PREMIERE PRODUCTION ANDPUBLICATION OF PLAYSCRIPT BY LOGOS THEATRE COMPANY
23 PERFORMANCES IN 2011, UPSTAIRS AT THE GATEHOUSE IN HIGHGATE

The Social Climber is Paddy Gormley's 1996 adaptation (long forgotten but rediscovered and revised in 2010) of Molière's Le Bourgeois gentilhomme.  The project was inspired by PG's observation that Molière's play is structurally inappropriate for modern theatre audiences. Specifically, the plot does not begin to unfold properly until the third act, while the first two acts make extravagant and discursive use of musicians and dancers: Le Bourgeois gentilhomme was devised in collaboration with composer Jean-Baptiste Lully as a music-theatre spectacular for the court of Louis XIV.

Beginning this translation only a few months after the completion of Misanthrope II, with its pioneering verse techniques, Paddy Gormley set about reinventing Molière's text in lines of two and three feet, leavening the text by virtue of the frequent rhymes and dancing rhythms.

The action of The Social Climber is played out in nine scenes extracted from, but not following the same sequence as those of Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, with the aim of making the play a more feasible proposition for 21st century classical theatre companies. 

Whilst PG does not seek to uproot Molière's play from its 17th century setting, he takes liberties with language, allowing extensive use of idiomatic English.

Click below for the website

The Social Climber

The project website includes full details, production photographs and a link to buy copies of the playscript.

HAMLET: TRAGEDY OF A FAT MAN

Hamlet: Tragedy of a Fat Man was commissioned by Simon Fisher-Becker after he saw the first rehearsed reading of Paddy Gormley's verse play, Twenty-Twenty, in 2001. 

In this one-man show, Max Thornbury is learning the part of Hamlet with the help of a self-made recording of the play, despite his grudge that directors invariably overlook fat people when casting the role.  As the action unfolds, his recording takes on a life of its own, so that the characters of Shakespeare's play become Max's friends and contacts.  Comedy turns to tragedy as the dark secret of Max's life is revealed. 

Simon Fisher-Becker gave the first performances of Hamlet: Tragedy of a Fat Man in London's Etcetera Theatre in the summer of 2002, directed by Kirsty Bennett.  Subsequent performances included the Bullion Room Theatre at the Hackney Empire in 2003. 

An archive video recording of the original production has recently come to light. Excerpts from this recording are featured in the new website devoted to the play: fatmanhamlet.info:   click the image on the right. 

Click here for fatmanhamlet website
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING FRANK

Paddy Gormley composed The Importance of Being Frank in the autumn of 1995 as "a bit of light relief" from the rigours of working on Misanthrope II

Clearly, The Importance of Being Earnest was not in need of a translation into rhyming verse.  PG's project was inspired by his musings on the question of how the play might unfold if the action were to begin in Cecily's garden, rather than in Half-Moon Street.  Paddy Gormley's Act 1 is based on Wilde's Act 2, but ends with a chance find:  Cecily discovers the calling card of Ernest Worthing, the "appallingly interesting rake that dear Uncle Jack takes such great care to conceal from us all", and determines to pay him a surprise visit. 

The play received a rehearsed reading by Actors & Writers London in June 2009.  The new website, devoted to the play, includes excerpts from the audio recording of this reading. 

The Importance of Being Frank
POET'S CORNER

Poet's Corner is a half-hour situation comedy series for radio, devised by Paddy Gormley in the 1990s.  The central character is Peter, an unsuccessful poet, who seems doomed to face rejection in everything he does.  He lives with his daughter (early twenties) and son (late teens), the respective products of two failed marriages.  Neither wife puts in a physical appearance, but their nagging voices live on inside Peter's head, such that they are significant characters in the show. 

A demo recording of the pilot episode is available, based on a rehearsed reading by Actors & Writers London, directed by Martin Cort.  The recording includes a full soundscape and live audience response.  The Poet's Corner website (click right) includes click-to-play excerpts from the pilot episode, Hard Times.  A full copy is available to potential producers from Paddy Gormley.

Click here for the Poet's Corner website
RIVERBANK REVERIE

Riverbank Reverie is an ongoing project by Paddy Gormley, based on The Wind in the Willows, begun in 1996.  Paddy Gormley's adaptation is partly a transcription of Kenneth Grahame's masterpiece into rhyming verse.  The action of the book is interspersed with Kenneth Grahame's reflections on his own life, from the perspective of the final years of his ill-fated marriage to Elspeth Thompson

Riverbank Reverie is conceived as a series of twelve half-hour episodes for radio with incidental music (not yet commissioned).  Paddy Gormley has drafted the first eight episodes. 

The Riverbank Reverie website (click right) includes click-to-play audio excerpts from the rehearsed reading of Episode 7, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, by Actors & Writers London, directed and introduced by Lucy Appleby.  The recording includes the audience discussion that followed the reading. 

Click here for the Riverbank Reverie website
LACONIC LOVERS

Laconic Lovers is a series of short radio plays (2001-2) of about eight to ten minutes each.  The plays, all two-handers, consider various aspects of the relationship game.  The series title, Laconic Lovers, derives from the shortness of the lines.  Exchanges consist exclusively of three-word speeches, two-word speeches, single-word speeches and non-verbal speech sounds.  This device gives the plays remarkable pace and energy. 

The Laconic Lovers website includes a beautifully imaginative, click-to-play radio production of the first of the plays, 3 2 1 Bang, in a Serbian translation by Milosh Drndarevic, subtitled with Paddy Gormley's original text. 

Click here for the Laconic Lovers website
RATS AWAY!

Rats Away is a church parable for primary/middle school performance, based on the story of The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Paddy Gormley wrote the words in 1994.  Barbara Gormley composed the music, which is scored for flute, recorders, percussion, piano, organ and children's voices, with hymns for audience.  The spoken parts of the play include nearly thirty colourful roles for children, with an adult playing the part of the mayor.  The first performance was given in 2000 by All Saints' C.E. School, Blackheath

Rats Away was Paddy Gormley's first verse play specifically written for public performance.  His fascination with the sounds and rhythms of language is evident, not least in the prologue, whose narration is punctuated by the percussive shouts of the whole school: 

Out of the cavernous
underworld, ravenous

rats

stream forth audaciously,
hunting rapaciously. 

Rats

filling the highways
and side streets and by-ways and

rats

frantically scurrying
everywhere, hurrying
up from the gutters and
gnawing at shutters and

rats

taking discursory
steps into nurseries...

The teaching resources for the project include a detailed set of preparatory notes including information about planning, casting, rehearsals and curriculum-related enrichment activities. 
ELSINORE AVENUE

Elsinore Avenue is a short play, written by Paddy Gormley for Actors & Writers London in 2003 and adapted for radio in 2006.  It is an adaptation of Hamlet in the style of a 21st Century television soap opera, supported by intrusive pizza company sponsorship. 

The audio player below right presents an excerpt from a recording made at the Write for Radio showcase production of Elsinore Avenue by members of Actors & Writers London in April 2006: Darren (James Bradshaw) advises Kylie (Nicola Stuart-Hill) to move out of her flat in Else's house and into a local nunnery. 

A full copy of this demo recording (12'20") is available. 

IN HIS OWN IMAGE
In His Own Image is a work-in-progress dramatisation of the story of Frederick Rolfe, also known as Baron Corvo.  Paddy Gormley's work is based on the "experiment in biography", The Quest for Corvo, in which A J A Symons discovers the elusive and obscure facts of Rolfe's remarkable life by piecing together a series of clues. 
AFTER MOLIÈRE

After Molière, my third Molière project, dates from 1998. 

The project began as an uncharted exploration of some of the characters and themes of Molière's Doctor plays, particularly Le Malade Imaginaire.  The extended first act was conceived as a set of dialogues between Molière's characters, in their own time. In the second act, never satisfactorily completed,I brought the same characters forward into the year 2000, specifically to explore the thesis that, whereas men were omnipotent in the world of Molière, women are now in charge, having captured the world of men without yielding the stil unassailable fortresses of femininity and motherhood. 

This incomplete project has sparked an idea for an eponymous series of radio shorts, each consisting of two scenes:  the first from Molière, or closely based on an actual scene from Molière;  the second continuing the action 300 years later. 

VENICE RESTORED

Venice Restored (1997) was the last in a series of adaptations of classical texts, in which Paddy Gormley was primarily interested in the development of new techniques for writing verse plays and not at all interesting in updating the action to modern times. 

Venice Restored is an amalgam of seven Restoration plays, including The Country Wife, All for Love and The Beaux Stratagem, with PG borrowing something from each of them. It was inspired by PG's musings as to what might have happened if William Wycherly's Pinchwife and the eponymous country wife had encountered George Farquhar's memorable rogues Aimwell and Archer

When Paddy Gormley was writing the play, the number seven became a theme in itself.  The plot is constructed in seven scenes, while each of the characters has a personal metrical scheme based on seven feet.  PG observes that the metrical constraints enhanced the fun of the writing:  "Characters with conflicting schemes could play a continuous game of tug-o-war with the rhymes and rhythms, grabbing the baton from someone else and pulling the metre into their preferred shape.  Characters could borrow from one another's schemes as a mark of empathy, as when Archer tries to seduce Mrs Pinchwife in the fourth scene, or to assist their disguise, as Aimwell does when he appears as a parson in the final scene." 

 

MOUSE MATE
Mouse Mate is a short story by Paddy Gormley (1995) that appears to be in prose, but is actually in rhyming verse.  It tells how Sam, a young boy or girl, finds friendship via the internet during a class at school.  It is designed to fit a quarter-hour broadcast slot. 
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