Guest Article – True Story: what inspired me to write Necessity

My play Necessity is inspired by a true event. Someone I know received in error, and read, a letter meant for somebody else – a married neighbour who had had an affair that produced a child. The letter was sent to tell this person that they would never see the child. It was like something out of a film. When I was told this (true) story what interested me most, rather than the personal circumstances of the individuals in that situation, was the difficult decision that the person with the letter and this knowledge might now face. Should they deliver it and destroy a family, or withhold it and deny a parent knowledge of the child they don’t know they have? This was the spark that became the story of Mish and Patrick, a young couple who one day receive a letter in Necessity.

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Paul Macauley: writer/director of Necessity

The play received its first production at the Brighton Fringe Festival last year and was produced by Broken Silence Theatre. Developing new writing is the company’s focus and being Brighton based they have a history of growing new work there and finding life for projects further afield. The play is not topical in its dramatic setup, but Broken Silence valued what the play could achieve in its tone and naturalism. Together we saw an opportunity for a production that could explore the challenge of balancing need with choosing the life you want, in a way that resonates with how we experience our lives today. We were lucky to bring together a cast that brought those themes to life in a naturalistic and compelling way. The result was a very real and tense piece of theatre, a sell-out run and some good reviews.

The upcoming run of Necessity at the Bread & Roses Theatre is the next step up for the show. We learned a lot about how the play works when it went up in front of an audience. We know there is more to bring out of the characters and relationships, further layers and complexities to share. For this run we are also pleased to welcome a new actor to the cast. This is all changing the reading of the play in some really intriguing ways and our rehearsals are an ongoing reminder to me that even if you know a play (like you wrote it or something!) there are infinite possibilities for its interpretation. Coming to the Bread & Roses has also offered a chance to evolve how we are staging Necessity. All of this will inspire a richer experience for those who see the play. Of course I would say that. Because it’s true.

Paul Macauley

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