Writing a play can be daunting for any author, let alone for one who has become settled and comfortable writing novels and short stories. As she prepares to open her first play for National Theatre Wales, AYT catches up with Rachel Trezise.

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Rachel Trezise studied at the University of Glamorgan in Wales and the University of Limerick in Ireland, and released her first novel, In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl, while she was still a student during 2002. Since then she has gone from writing novels, to short stories and is currently taking a shot in the dark teaming up with National Theatre Wales to write her first play, Tonypandemonium.

I spoke to Trezise and asked her what it was like to make the leap from one genre to a completely different one. She told me that when she first started off she was “very scared to suddenly just be reduced to writing dialogue. It was quite scary. But now that it is coming towards the end and it’s all coming alive, the whole process has become very exciting – much more than before.”

It is obvious to those who watch and read plays that they differ from the other two genres within which Rachel is used to writing. However I wanted to know just how different writing them can be. According to Trezise, they are quite similar. She told me that the the “main difference is that the story has to be filtered through dialogue. But it’s the same thing really, it is a story and it needs structure. It needs to have a beginning, a middle and an end. It’s not really that different.”

When asked what she has learnt from her change in direction in her writing process she informed me that she had started to find that the “dialogue is fun really and you can say so much, you can really tell a story through dialogue which I didn’t realise before. It made my dialogue in my prose much better.”

Of course there comes a time when every playwright and author will look back on the process. When Trezise reflected on her own progress she told me that it was “definitely challenging, but it was a good challenge. I found towards the end I was learning something. I’m quite hooked on drama, now.”

 

As if the change in direction for her career wasn’t challenging and daunting enough, Trezise was completely thrown in the deep end when she began working with such a prestigious company as National Theatre Wales. “It has been almost a three year course, initially I was just developing the script. It was my first time as a playwright and I was writing for National Theatre Wales! I had no idea if they would take it or not. Of course it was exciting anyway, but I had no idea if anything would come from it.”

The cast of Rachel's play

The cast of Rachel’s play

Being new to writing plays herself, Trezise didn’t have too much advice to offer to other writers just yet, but talking from experience she did tell me that she had found that what had helped her a lot was “making sure the plays are personal. It is much easier for the first play rather than making it entirely fictional. Start with something you know.”

Talking about where the inspiration for her writing comes from, she said: “It just kind of hits me. Sometimes I get ideas from other writers and that might set me off thinking about something. But most of the time it comes from eavesdropping on other conversations on public transport. Things like that get the ideas rolling.”

As far I can see, any budding writers out there should be inspired by the success that Trezise has gained. They should take inspiration from the way that she acts and remember that it is important if you want to become successful as a writer to ensure that you enjoy what you do, to accept that it is ok to be just as scared as you are excited, don’t let the criticism get you down and don’t forget that your own experiences can be just as important for inspiration as the world around you.

Tonypandemonium will run from 10 – 19 October. For more information and tickets visit National Theatre Wales’s website.