I’ve always been a fan of Alan Bennett, and I adored Talking Heads. I don’t know if you remember the series of dramatic monologues written for BBC television. The two series were first broadcast in 1988 and 1998, and have since been broadcast on BBC Radio and included on the A-level and GCSE English Literature syllabus. They have always been an inspiration to me.
Then a couple of Christmas’s ago Little Crackers a British Christmas comedy-drama was broadcast on Sky1. It consisted of a series of short films featuring stars of British and Irish comedy, including Stephen Fry, Catherine Tate, Chris O’Dowd, Kathy Burke, Victoria Wood, and Bill Bailey. And memories of the Alan Bennett monologues started to surface.
The creatives amongst us will understand the brain itch, the idea that grows bigger and bigger until you end up doing something about it. In my case, it was Portsmouth Plugged In. When I saw the call for creative projects in the Portsmouth Festivities the idea of producing a series of dramatic monolgues, once again took hold.
However, I did want to do something different. I still have the vivid memory of Alan performing in front of a large screen. And I decided that it would be a good idea. Luckily, Portsmouth University and the British Film Institute offered to help. I also asked members of the community to make some films so that local writers had a starting point to develop a monologue.
There will be a performance in June, which I’m extremely excited about. And I am curious what the city’s creatives will do with the challenge. It will be interesting to see the finished pieces.