zaks wri(tings) #7
(Finally, an honest explanation as to why it didn’t go ahead.)
In August 2019, I wrote my first play.
I received a rejection email from the RC stating that an application I sent wasn’t going through to the next round of the Introductory Writers’ Group. I’d applied with another individual and was told they were only looking for solo writers. However, if I was able to send in a solo written piece they would reconsider my application. But there were two problems – they needed it by the end of the day and I didn’t have a solo piece.
So I wrote one.
‘just trying a ting’ is a one woman play that tells the tale of a young black woman dealing with life and love all whilst being a struggling artist. (heavy emphasis on the struggling.) It includes spoken word and is based in South-West London.
(Some say it’s autobiographical … I completely deny this claim.)
It was conceived in a run down Costa Coffee shop because at the time I couldn’t afford wifi. (This story happens like a month before ‘Sold my phone to get home’. So if you know you know.) Under 3 hours later, I had my first short play.
Three weeks and another rejection email later, I was told by the RCIW Group that my piece was good but not good enough. (Thus, I didn’t get in.)
I forget about it and continue hustling.
Fast forward to November 2019, I’m doing up baecation abroad when I receive an email. I don’t read it properly as I expect it to be another rejection and swiftly slap it in my junk folder.
A few minutes later, I decide to stop being stubborn goat (1) and actually read what they had sent. Maybe they have provided feedback. Lo and behold the email said this …
Hi Zakiyyah (Zak) Deen,
Thank you for your application to be a part of VAULT Festival 2020 with ‘just trying a ting’. We’re delighted to make you a conditional offer, the key details of which are summarised in the Presenter’s Agreement attached. Please read it thoroughly before signing and returning it to us as soon as possible.
[blah blah blah]
We look forward to hopefully having you as part of the VAULT Festival 2020 programme!
The VAULT Festival Programming Team
When I tell you man was shooketh. As in me? Ms everyday rejection rejection. Wowza.
The moment I got back, I started planning. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I just knew that it had been commissioned and had to be ready by February 2020. I found directors and producers that I wanted to work with and even booked the location within the festival.
Now here is where I’m gonna be completely honest with you. It all became too much.
I had the vision and the drive just no money, time or professional support to back it. And the worst thing about it is that it had sparked interest within the industry and my people dem (you know who you are) had already bought tickets.
Do you know how much of a failure I felt cancelling that show?
Like I had fallen at the first hurdle. But in hindsight, I wasn’t even running the same race as the other athletes, I didn’t have a coach and I couldn’t even afford the kit.
The day I announced that I was cancelling the show, I made a promise to myself.
I would never let money, lack of time or support EVER limit me again.
(There was defo a lot more swear words and tears in the promise but I’m just paraphrasing for story telling purposes.)
So yeah that’s the story about the time I wrote a play and it flopped.
Well, not really because it didn’t even get the chance to flop. (Ha!)
But don’t worry, you will definitely be seeing some of my long form writing sooner thank you think.
Footnotes and foolishness
- I’m a Capricorn. Do with that information what you will innit.
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