Stuart Price

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Stuart is a writer from the Midlands. He has so far created a number of plays, that have been seen in theatres around the country, as well as a number of theatre festivals. Most recently Stuart wrote and directed ASAP at the Marlborough Theatre, Brighton, and the Unity Theatre in Liverpool. He also works closely with Film Production Company Jeamland as a screenwriter.

In 2009 Stuart won two MTM UK What’s On Stage Awards for Best New Musical and Best Book for a Musical for Ed. As a writer for the Wireless Theatre Company Stuart has created some of the company’s most memorable work including the comedy ‘The Youth of Old Age’ starring Prunella Scales, Sci-Fi Fantasy ‘2010 Space Commander’, Live Horror show ‘The Grimm of Stottesden Hall’ and the touching short radio play ‘On Three’ starring Timothy West)

“Stuart Price has a real ability to create very intimate scenes as well as outrageously comic ones. The dialogue is sharp and witty, full of truth and utterly real.” BROADWAY BABY

Stuart likes to write short stories for online publications, and is never found without a geeky fantasy novel on his person. Robin Hobb is seriously recommended.

 

Read below for an insightful interview with Stuart about the production and working with the great Ms. Scales:

Could you tell the listeners a little bit about The Youth of Old Age?

I was given the chance to submit a play for Prunella Scales to work on so I wanted to create something memorable. The character of Elizabeth came in to my mind after a couple of hours thinking about it. I wanted to use a classic delivery style, which Pru is obviously a master of, but I also wanted to contemporise the situation the older characters find themselves in so that a new audience could identify with them.

The character of Elizabeth is unique, to say the least, what was your inspiration for this character? Did you always have Prunella in mind?

As I said, the entire piece is based around creating a character that I, and many people of my generation, would love to hear her do. We all know and love the classic characters she has played, but I always felt there was a wicked side to her that wasn't necessarily fully explored.

 

The play could be considered offensive, were you looking to shock listeners?

I don't see the play as offensive, as I don't think it is anybody's business to judge what characters do. The audience are nothing but voyeurs. It would be like sneaking in to your neighbour's bedroom, hiding in the wardrobe and then getting offended when he started bonking his dog. If you let yourself in to someone else's world without their permission you have no right to judge, especially if you are just doing it for your own amusement. It is the role of the characters around Elizabeth to decide if she has overstepped the mark, and they do, and they punish her accordingly. We simply watch.

 

Do you think that in the current day and age, comedy will inevitably draw on a certain amount of controversy?

Comedy always has always drawn on controversy, but no more now then ever before. Certain people like to laugh at tragic things, certain people like to laugh at knock-knock jokes. There will always be a market for controversial things, it's just a matter of timing. I find it strange that society as a whole decides almost unconsciously what it can and cannot laugh at. You can tell a joke about Diana now and people will laugh, yet you cannot tell a joke about Ken Bigley. Why? Timing? Woody Allen said Comedy = Tragedy + Time, yet this shows that we have now developed an ability to symbiotically censor ourselves. How is Princess Diana's death funny, but Ken Bigley's isnt? It's always interesting to me when I sit at the back of theatres and listen to audiences during a show, especially when I know a pretty controversial joke is coming up. The way audiences react to different things can change so drastically from audience to audience it's astounding. The bottom line is that our job is to tell the story and that's it. If the story centres around a racist then sooner or later you will hear a joke about minorities because that is what they do. I'm waffling now.

What would you say was your intended audience for The Youth of Old Age when writing it? Has this changed since?

I didn't have an intended audience when I wrote it. I just told the story. Most of my other work has always been viewed as adult content and that is fine by me. This is an adult piece for sure but I think anybody with enough intelligence can appreciate something from it. Lets face it we have classification for films but does anybody really believe that kids don't watch them? They do, but most kids are pretty safe mentally. They could listen to this and not get too screwed up by it. I saw High School Musical 2 the other day because I thought it would cure my hangover and I reckon it's for more morally corrupt simply because it is subtly telling the audience how they should live. It doesn't just tell the story because there is no story, but it does illustrate that unless you are nailing a lad in the basketball team you aren't going to graduate.

 

Were you nervous to be directing someone as established in the profession as Prunella?

Absolutely terrified. I remember the first reading of the first scene that morning. Knight Mantell and Prunella Scales were doing a scene together and it was mesmerizing. I was so in love with the sound of them both. I just sat there and about halfway through the scene I just kept thinking 'in a minute you are going to have to say something to them. What are you going to say? SAY SOMETHING! ANYTHING! I babbled some crap at them and they did it better because they are so brilliant at avoiding bad direction. I was crapping it. You ask anyone who was there. I was white as a sheet. I reckon I did an amazing job though.

Have you got any advice for new writers?

Michael Caine: "Good advice is free because it's worthless." I believe this, but I think there are a few pointers I could give. 1 - FINISH IT. No matter how bad you may think it is, get to the end, leave it for a week, then read it back. You can always change what you dont like. 2. DONT SEND IT TO THEATRES TO JUDGE! What the Hell do they all know? Get a few friends together and read it aloud, show it to people. That's how you will learn. Do it yourself. 3. YOU WILL NEVER MAKE MONEY OUT OF IT so get a degree in Law or Economics. You can still write in your spare time which is what most of us do. If you love it then you will do it. 4. WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! You have to be doing it constantly. If you aren't writing for at least an hour a day then forget it. You wont be one of the really good ones who can just spin out a winner once a year, and you wont learn what you do unless you are doing it a lot. Put down the penis and porn and start banging out the words. 90% of what you write may be crap but so what? Keep going.

Download Stuart's witty short stories A Normal Night and 147 and you won't regret it.

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