Judith Adams - Playwright & Dramatist

"Judith Adams and Gaynor Macfarlane: two of the safest pairs of hands in radio" Radio Times Choice

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Whitestone Arts Research Centre

Creative Workshop Space, West Yorkshire

Adapted 17th Century Pennine longhouse

www.whitestonearts.co.uk
info@whitestonearts.co.uk
+44 (0)1535 644644

Reviews

"...the slight incongruity between story and landscape often only adds to the dreamlike feel of a reality behind the surface of our world, something mythic and fundamental that only art and imagination can restore to us. Adams's words are superb...beautiful and moving." Joyce McMillan, Scotsman 2006

"A sudden moment of perfect beauty emerges, followed by one of paranoia...a haunting experience" Alan Shuttleworth, Financial Times

"Judith Adams' script is dense as thick, black treacle but has the lightest of touches, melding myth and poetry with the everyday.....there were times when I found myself fearfully looking over my shoulder as if haunted by my own footsteps." Lyn Gardner, Guardian. (Pick of the Day Aug 11th and 19th)

"I have been thinking about it ever since" Ruaridh Nicholl, Observer

"A delicious, sensory overload of future gothic." Neil Cooper, Glasgow Herald.

"A mix of story, installation, hypnosis and walking tour: we love a show that finds, creates or utilises exciting and innovative venues - and especially those shows that find ways to use the fabric of Edinburgh itself as a stage. Many shows and companies have done this over the years, but the one that caught our eye was Puppet Lab's production Ghost, which transformed the streets of Leith into a performance space through the use of a simple head set and a clever soundscape. A very interesting show enjoyed in isolation. For their innovative use of sound, emotion and location, Puppet Lab deserve their Editors' Award" Threeweeks

Extract from Ghost

Ghost

2006 award-winning Edinburgh Festival headphone show (with Puppet Lab) and

Stamsund International Festival in Norway June 4/5 2013

Sound composer Henrik Ekeus.

TELESPEAK (ending spiel) …… Please put the headphones on now. Press play when you are ready. And try to relax.

SOUNDS OF TECHNOLOGY AND BIOLOGY CONNECTING UP.

UNDERNEATH A SOOTHING SOUND OF THE SEA – THOSE WAVES THAT ARE LAZY AND LONG, WITH PLEASANT GAPS BETWEEN THE SIGHS….

MAKER Thank you. You put them on.

….AND THERE IS A CHILD, PLAYING, MURMURING QUIETLY TO ITSELF.

[CHILD Come and play. Look. See my shell? A shell’s like a sandwich – did you know? – flakes of skin – and - mineral slices. The minerals make the skin strong, and skin makes the minerals live. But…]

MAKER You look kind. Look in the mirror, how kind your eyes look.

[CHILD …where do the patterns come from? What’s the colour for?

MAKER I hoped you would come. But hope isn’t the same as wishing.

[CHILD “If Wishes were Horses, Beggars would ride. If Turnips are Watches, wear one at your side. If ifs and ands were pots and pans – There’d be no work for Tinkers”. Will you play with me?

MAKER Thank you for agreeing to this. Exceptionally open-minded of you. Exceptionally – I might say brave but I wouldn’t want to alarm you. I need your help. So – I’ll just jump in, shall I?

/CHILD We could swim. Can I swim in the water? Will you come swimming with me?

MAKER Once upon a time I lived by the sea. In a great white house, full of glorious things. Man-made things. Marble and crystal. Silver and silk. Bronze and filigree. Red wine always on the table. Green grapes. A house full of sun. Full of light. Stayed there – oh – a long time.

BEAT

Of course, there was a girl.

But that’s another story.

I had a commission to paint – a mural. My first job.

/CHILD Look inside my shell – pink and purple rainbows!

MAKER Painting’s not my thing – but I could paint what I wanted, at least.

An architectural seascape. A harbour of sorts. Terraces. Buildings like geometric birds perched on ledges. Boats. Oars laid up. Steps from the water. No people. No particular time. Nothing out of the ordinary. (If you don’t take into account the fact that it was flat, of course. Pretending to be something else. Like all paintings.) She wanted me to paint us in the picture. I said no. People aren’t my thing.

In the end, we had a fight. I left her asleep on the white bed in the sun. I remember the sun reflected in a drop of salt water on her cheek. I went down to get my brushes from the painted room. And disappear.

[SUDDEN VICIOUS BEATING OF HUGE WINGS, AND A CHILD’S VOICE IN PANIC, SCREAMING, VERY FAR AWAY:

[CHILD Don’t let me go! I’m falling!]

A DOOR OPENS. GHOST THEME

MAKER I remember standing in the room.

FOOTSTEPS WALK INTO ECHOING ROOM

Empty. Except for Sun, pouring in.

Hello?

GHOST THEME?

On the wall opposite my mural – a large mirror.

I stand looking at my painting, in the mirror, and as I look, the hairs on my neck stand up. There are footprints. On my painted steps. Out of my painted sea. Still wet. And a smell. Not paint. A sea smell. Iodine. For a second I think I hear something. Breathing.

BEAT: SEA – OR BREATHING?

I panic. Pick up a marble head and –

MIRROR, SHATTERING INTO A THOUSAND FRAGMENTS.

BEAT – SILENCE

[CHILD Come on! Play with me. Let’s play – Follow My Leader. Do you want to lead? I will, then. Come on. Catch me!

MAKER Don’t you see? That was my painting! Just - something pulled out of my head like a spider pulls a thread. How could it start – happening?

BEAT

[CHILD If you follow me, I’ll show you.

MAKER I don’t know why I started there – it was so long ago.

[CHILD Hurry up – come on – or you’ll never keep up with me.

Extract from Ghost

Ghost

2006 award-winning Edinburgh Festival headphone show (with Puppet Lab) and

Stamsund International Festival in Norway June 4/5 2013

Sound composer Henrik Ekeus.

TELESPEAK (ending spiel) …… Please put the headphones on now. Press play when you are ready. And try to relax.

SOUNDS OF TECHNOLOGY AND BIOLOGY CONNECTING UP.

UNDERNEATH A SOOTHING SOUND OF THE SEA – THOSE WAVES THAT ARE LAZY AND LONG, WITH PLEASANT GAPS BETWEEN THE SIGHS….

MAKER Thank you. You put them on.

….AND THERE IS A CHILD, PLAYING, MURMURING QUIETLY TO ITSELF.

[CHILD Come and play. Look. See my shell? A shell’s like a sandwich – did you know? – flakes of skin – and - mineral slices. The minerals make the skin strong, and skin makes the minerals live. But…]

MAKER You look kind. Look in the mirror, how kind your eyes look.

[CHILD …where do the patterns come from? What’s the colour for?

MAKER I hoped you would come. But hope isn’t the same as wishing.

[CHILD “If Wishes were Horses, Beggars would ride. If Turnips are Watches, wear one at your side. If ifs and ands were pots and pans – There’d be no work for Tinkers”. Will you play with me?

MAKER Thank you for agreeing to this. Exceptionally open-minded of you. Exceptionally – I might say brave but I wouldn’t want to alarm you. I need your help. So – I’ll just jump in, shall I?

/CHILD We could swim. Can I swim in the water? Will you come swimming with me?

MAKER Once upon a time I lived by the sea. In a great white house, full of glorious things. Man-made things. Marble and crystal. Silver and silk. Bronze and filigree. Red wine always on the table. Green grapes. A house full of sun. Full of light. Stayed there – oh – a long time.

BEAT

Of course, there was a girl.

But that’s another story.

I had a commission to paint – a mural. My first job.

/CHILD Look inside my shell – pink and purple rainbows!

MAKER Painting’s not my thing – but I could paint what I wanted, at least.

An architectural seascape. A harbour of sorts. Terraces. Buildings like geometric birds perched on ledges. Boats. Oars laid up. Steps from the water. No people. No particular time. Nothing out of the ordinary. (If you don’t take into account the fact that it was flat, of course. Pretending to be something else. Like all paintings.) She wanted me to paint us in the picture. I said no. People aren’t my thing.

In the end, we had a fight. I left her asleep on the white bed in the sun. I remember the sun reflected in a drop of salt water on her cheek. I went down to get my brushes from the painted room. And disappear.

[SUDDEN VICIOUS BEATING OF HUGE WINGS, AND A CHILD’S VOICE IN PANIC, SCREAMING, VERY FAR AWAY:

[CHILD Don’t let me go! I’m falling!]

A DOOR OPENS. GHOST THEME

MAKER I remember standing in the room.

FOOTSTEPS WALK INTO ECHOING ROOM

Empty. Except for Sun, pouring in.

Hello?

GHOST THEME?

On the wall opposite my mural – a large mirror.

I stand looking at my painting, in the mirror, and as I look, the hairs on my neck stand up. There are footprints. On my painted steps. Out of my painted sea. Still wet. And a smell. Not paint. A sea smell. Iodine. For a second I think I hear something. Breathing.

BEAT: SEA – OR BREATHING?

I panic. Pick up a marble head and –

MIRROR, SHATTERING INTO A THOUSAND FRAGMENTS.

BEAT – SILENCE

[CHILD Come on! Play with me. Let’s play – Follow My Leader. Do you want to lead? I will, then. Come on. Catch me!

MAKER Don’t you see? That was my painting! Just - something pulled out of my head like a spider pulls a thread. How could it start – happening?

BEAT

[CHILD If you follow me, I’ll show you.

MAKER I don’t know why I started there – it was so long ago.

[CHILD Hurry up – come on – or you’ll never keep up with me.