A Play of Words By Neil Follett


As writers we all get a buzz when we see our words in print in a magazine article, with our name crediting us as the author. Even a letter to the editor of a newspaper is an achievement to see your name in print.

A different achievement, and a different feeling, is to hear words you have written being performed by an actor on a stage.

You may not be a David Williamson, a Neil Simon or a William Shakespeare, but you can experience the thrill of hearing a script you have written being performed.

There are over 80 amateur, or non-professional theatre companies in Victoria. Many of these offer ‘readings’ of new writer’s plays, to give them feedback on their work; not full plays but usually just one act.

If you have playwright aspirations, check out some of your local theatre groups to see if they have ‘readings’ incorporated into their programmes.

I am a member of the LOTS Theatre Inc. LOTS being Legends Of The Skies.

The group was formed in 2013 to present short plays about Australian aviation legends, with all the action taking place in the Australian National Aviation Museum at Moorabbin Airport.

It was a truly unique setting with each play being performed with a different aviation backdrop as the cast and audience moved around the museum.

I have written ten scripts for LOTS and all have been performed.

Unfortunately, series 7 of LOTS, to be presented in October 2019, will not be presented in the museum as difficulties arose regarding space requirements. Like all good theatre, the show must go on and the October season will be in a local school hall.

Common advice given to all writers is to write about what you know, and my success as a playwright (tongue firmly in the cheek) is just that.

Because I have a lifelong interest in aircraft I found the plays easy to write. Two of the legends that I wrote about were aviators I had actually met and had many conversations with. One of them took me flying in her aircraft four times in 1958. I was only 14 at the time.

The stories of all the others were known to me as I had written magazine articles about many of them.

My observations during my script writing career is that a good actor can make an average script seem good, while a good script can be ruined by a bad actor. Fortunately at LOTS the latter has never happened. That’s why auditions are held.

If you would like to try your hand at script writing the first piece of advice I would give is to visit your local theatrical society and borrow a script, which will show you how to present your script.

If you have the right play, you will be a playwright.