As part of the condition for an Arts Council Research and Development grant, we needed to get feedback from useful analysts.
Our first point of call was our script editor, who Richard had been able to persuade to work gratis, and this was one of the things that we were providing in terms of matched funding.
The initial response from our script editor was as useful as it was surprising. All the while, we had thought that the point of the piece whilst not self-evident, was open to multiple interpretations. However, the first thought back was to ask what we wanted an audience to take from the piece....this proved to be quite difficult and I suppose identified that we had no ultimate end game in terms of meaning.
As a result, we went through several months in the 2021 Summer rewriting vast sections of the script and fundamentally re-imagining what was going on.
The central character, Mr. Different, who we realised was conflicted, became an obvious split personality. One version of which spoke in rhyme and was cavalier about his other half. The other personality became more contrite and rueful about how his life had taken him to this point. It was generally agreed that speaking in rhyme increased the madness and also mitigated some of the more offensive thoughts that he expressed.
However, this then brought up amongst a few readers the issue of misogyny. Given that whilst we were rewriting, the Sarah Everard murder had taken place and the usual tropes about women being careful were replayed in the media. Two of the people who we asked to re-read the new script highlighted what they called the usual misogyny' about women out at night, in relation to the two drunken girls that Mr. Different encounters in the second scene. This then focused our attention on several elements of the script which whilst not intentionally negative about women, (when is it ever intentional) contributed and seemed to dig into some of the ideas about women's role in society.
From this, a new attitude to the two drunken women was needed, and this was at first a bit too heavy-handed....but had taken us to a different place.
As the writer, this was all quite surprising, the idea of equality with women, was nowhere on the agenda whilst creating this piece, but with hindsight the changes we have made, we think is far more interesting.