Every so often a piece of writing makes such a profound impression on you, it never lets you go. For a writer, especially an aspiring writer, this can be an epiphany. For me, the poem ‘Wodwo’ by Ted Hughes is one such piece. http://www.cs.otago.ac.nz/staffpriv/alik/wodwo.html I even wrote my own take on this strange creature: you can read it here: http://throughtheturretwindow.blogspot.co.uk/2010_09_01_archive.html
This year, as I began my year-long attachment to the Traverse Theatre, I quoted the first lines from ‘Wodwo’ in my diary. It seems that now I must add ‘playwright’ to the list that heads my twitter-profile, and this blog. It’s a tricky expression, which I’m as uncomfortable with as the term ‘author.’
People love categories, pigeon-holes, types, and descriptions that don’t really mean anything. But any artist is likely to try and wriggle free of such proscriptive terminology. Watching the fifty-three plays that launched the Traverse 50 project last weekend, it is clear that diversity is the key.
I would describe it as an evening of theatrical channel-hopping. Every couple of minutes, there was a flick of a switch and we were in another world of incredible, original and mind-boggling theatricality, expressing the full gamut of what it is to be part of the strange world that, fifty years ago, the Traverse set out to explore.
Even so, I still felt like that Wodwo at the river’s edge, watching what The Scotsman described as "A torrent of creativity and potential," (http://bit.ly/14tvmAv ) wondering ‘What am I, then.’ I think it’s fair to say that ALL the Traverse 50 writers were awarded five stars in the first review that appeared. Read it here: http://www.edinburghguide.com/reviews/theatre/reviewplaysforedinburghbythetraversefifty-11842
Keep searching, Wodwo: I exist.