INTERVIEW WITH UK PLAYWRIGHT MICHAEL NASH
As far back as I can remember, I have always had an affiliation with the theatre! I was born, a few weeks
prematurely, seven hours after VE day - my mother was celebrating at a backstage party when I decided to arrive.
Her cousin was Sir Rex Harrison. The first thing I can vividly recall were dreams - cardboard cut-out trees
(stage scenery no doubt)……….
My childhood ambition was always to become an actor - but my father wanted me to have a proper career!
He gave me very little choice - a teacher, a doctor or a veterinary surgeon. I absolutely detested the sight
of blood so teaching was the only option! This was not a problem though - I graduated and taught English and
During my few years as a teacher I was able to develop new ideas and to direct a number of established
plays as well as a few snippets of my own. Eventually I joined a repertory theatre company in Salisbury as
an ASM - and from there I started my own Theatre-in-Education company. I also performed in Summer Season in
Weymouth and appeared in a one-man show which ran for 84 performances…………..
In the early 1980s, I was approached to write a pantomime for a 1200-seater theatre in the Rhondda, South Wales.
I had just one week to produce a working script - complete with 35 original songs - for a cast and chorus of 50
people! Furthermore I was invited to play the Dame and to direct the production! Most of the performers had
never been on stage before. What a challenge! My vision was not only to use the stage but the whole auditorium
as well - even down to characters in full costume acting as ushers, program sellers etc! And it worked! The
then Mayor of Rhondda said it was the best show he had ever seen anywhere………..
The success of this spurred me on to keep writing! I have only had one of my plays performed since - again
with me as director. Nevertheless this has not deterred me from persevering. Who knows what is out there? I
have had my rejection letters - the latest from Playscripts Inc.
I have received encouraging and positive thoughts from my internet friend Gloria. She has led me to believe
that her favourite play is one called 'They're Dropping Bombs Not Ham Sandwiches'. This is a dialogue set not
so very long ago between a WW11 veteran and a youth caught up in the troubles of Northern Ireland. The play
takes place in a hospital corridor. The story illustrates the Second World War through flashbacks and all roles
are enacted by a cast of five. I will not go into too much detail as, with all of my plays, there is a
proverbial 'twist in the tale'.
Currently I have been working on the book and lyrics for a new musical 'Signs of Fire' which explores the
last year in the life of Van Gogh. John Sullivan, the composer, has had successes in the past with rock and
jazz compositions and works with Annie Lennox. In addition I am working on a novel based on my experiences
whilst living in Istanbul - 'Swim With the Tide'. I first visited this most magnificent city as a student in
1966 spending 6 months there on work exchange. The following years until 1970 I spent several holidays with
the many friends I had made. In 1970-71 I lived there - and worked as an English teacher and as an actor
appearing in a few Turkish feature films. My partner Dave and I have been back 3 times this year and
are hoping to move there permanently. Maybe, one day, the book will be completed - sitting on a roof terrace
overlooking the Sea of Marmara surrounded by all the sights and sounds that are so precious and dear to me……
For the past two years Dave and I have organised and maintained a few writer's groups on Yahoo - my good
friend Gloria is a moderator on these! From meeting other group members I have learnt so much more about
writing - we all have our inspirations and our heartaches. It is fantastic to become published or performed
but it is much better to persevere and let the words pour from within. All my characters speak from my heart
and soul - and I am sure that in most cases writers experience the same. I become each individual. I must
have lived many lives before! And I hope and trust that I will live many, many more……..
Editor's words on Michael Nash:. My favorite play by Michael is THEY'RE DROPPING BOMBS NOT HAM SANDWICHES.
This play is written so powerfully. It reminds me of Early Theatre.
A synopsis of his two-act play:
A heart-rending awareness of World War Two as seen through the eyes of an elderly hospital patient.
His recollections are shared with a youth who is, as the play, which is set in 1989, eventually reveals,
a victim of a terrorist bomb attack in Northern Ireland. Scenes from the war years are illustrated by poetry,
dialogue and action, in fantasy sequences, enacted by the two central characters and three of the hospital staff.
An oft-times funny, poignant and thought-provoking play. The play is set in the corridor of a hospital.
Two chairs SL are the only items of furniture. A notice board adorns the wall SC. Part of the wall from
SC to SR slides open to reveal a separate performance area beyond. There are two exits each side of the stage
and these can be found DSR, CSR, DSL, CSL.
Michael also has another play I've read which is a musical called, PUBLIC HEROES PRIVATE FRIENDS. This is really well done. I loved it!
A synopsis of his musical:
"The love between two friends, albeit difficult to understand, is just as important as the love between
a man and a woman" - but how important? For Mike and Andre, employees at an adventure centre in Mid Wales,
it brings problems and frustrations which neither have experienced before. They openly admit their love for
each other but, naturally, show much concern when their co-workers doubt the normality of the relationship.
Complications arise and, at times, the friendship becomes rather tense.
To confuse matters even further, Julie, a young instructor who, much to her dismay, never seems to be
noticed, yearns for a boyfriend of her very own. She becomes infatuated with Mike. He, in turn, besides
being emotionally involved with Andre, is dating Julie's sister, Cheryl, who is spending a few weeks at the
centre as a voluntary helper. However, when Cheryl leaves, Julie sees the way clear to pursue Mike. But all
in vain! Mike's attentions are given totally to Andre and, despite the occasional disagreement, they become
inseparable, and Julie has to resolve herself to the fact that Mike will never show her anything more than
friendship. Will she ever find a love of her own?
Meanwhile Mike, together with a few of his closest friends, proves rather rebellious and his unconventional
nature upsets both the director and the warden of the centre. Clearly he has to go! Dave, the director, breaks
the news to Mike informing him that the management are unhappy about his relationship with Andre. Furthermore,
Mike's influence over Julie is causing concern because it is badly affecting her work. And, as it transpires,
Dave has other more personal reasons for wanting Mike to leave!
The day arrives for Mike's departure. Julie volunteers to drive him to the station. She seems happy
although Mike had thought that she would be the last person, apart from Andre, who would wish to see him go!
Her happiness, however, is due to an approach made by Dave who has secretly admired her but has been too shy
to make any advances. Perhaps, then, she has now found the boyfriend for whom she has been yearning? Her
future, at last, seems settled.
But what of Mike and Andre? Mike's home is far away and there he has to return. Will the two friends
ever see each other again? Who knows? The future is too uncertain....
In the theatre world, good plays and musicals are hard to come by. I see brilliantly written plays
revised and performed numerous times on Broadway and Off-Broadway, Repertory Companies, and smaller theatres.
This is great but I would like to see more original plays and musicals read and produced. In Boston,
Playwright's Platform is a wonderful venue for playwrights. If I still ran a theatre company, I definitely
would be doing these two plays. I hope that someday I will get to meet Michael. It would be such an
honor for me. When I like writing by someone, as many of you know, I follow their writing for years.