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  • Gail Louw presentation – Monologues in Stage Plays

    Review of Gail Louw presentation – Monologues in Stage Plays

    Gail’s preferred style, monologues, seemed both tricky and yet practical for, as she said, writing for one actor was a great deal cheaper than several and, with Arts Council grants mostly available up to £15,000, more productive. Her golden rule was to know clearly “who is talking and to whom”. For if an actor is simply narrating a story, it is almost certain to lack the drama of a conflict between characters. And, she added, conflict is vital to retaining an audience’s interest.

    Each of us was asked in turn to read marked sections of her play “Blonde Poison”, with Gail explaining various aspects of the writing that made the piece work as a whole. The story centres on Stella Goldschlag, vain, Jewish, who, surviving through looking Aryan in Berlin during the Second World War, is eventually betrayed and tortured. To save her parents from the camps, she turns into an informer, sending some thousands of uncaptured Jews (“U-boats” in Gestapo slang) to their death. In the play she is in her early 70s, looking back on her life and talking to her beloved parents as she remembers them.

    The play makes use of time shifts, of songs which have dark overtones:  (‘Toot, Toot, Tootsie! Goodbye’ and ‘Me and My Shadow’), and of devices such as a letter from her daughter not read until the very end, and of a journalist due to interview her, to ramp up the tension. The play has so far run in eight countries and Gail has found herself surprised that the monster she believed she had created was also viewed with a little empathy by some audiences.

    Some of the participants had brought monologues and others were asked to write something during the tea break. These were all read out in turn by their authors, revealing a very wide range of subject matter and style but all, as Gail remarked, interesting.

    It struck me that writing effective monologues must be one of the hardest writing styles, requiring as it does to put all the elements of drama into one voice. But for that reason it is also very useful practice. Gail exhorted us to continue practice.

    “Blonde Poison” is due to play in London in April 2019 with Jane Asher.

    Crispin Ellison



  • Schedule of Meetings

    Saturday 19 January.  12.30-2.30 pm


    All Your Own Work!

    What have you been working on? Come and share your writing.

    A supportive session where you can share your work and get feedback.

    Another opportunity to meet fellow writers, network, make friends. 

    Bring along extracts of your work, about a page in length.

    All genres welcome. Fiction, nonfiction, prose or poetry.




    Saturday 16 February 2019.  12.30-2.30 pm  

    The Process of Writing Poetry – a talk by Mandy Pannett



    Saturday 16 February 2019.  12.30-2.30 pm

    Writing Fiction from Memory – workshop with Erinna Mettler



    Saturday 20 April 2019.  12.30-2.30 pm






  • Brighton Theatre of the Air


    September 2018

    Listen to BTOTA’S latest recording: An Angel Intrudes directed by Roz Scott.

    July 2018

    Read latest news about Brighton Theatre of the Air and hear new audio releases on Subgroup page:   

    April 2018

    Death Calls at Dinner from A Chocolate Box of Short Plays.



    TRE logo

    February 2018.  Brighton Theatre of the Air on air in Europe.  Talk Radio Europe (TRE), FM Radio, played tracks from BTOTA’s audio anthology, Love is in the Air.  Feb 20 at 19.53: An Ideal Husband, 20.52: The Romance of a Busy Broker. Feb 22 and 23 at 19.50: The Bickersons. Feb 24 at 22.50: To His Coy Mistress.


    February 14, 2018 – BTOTA’s compilation – Love is in the Air – was played on Brighton and Hove Community Radio on Valentine’s Day.


    For more information:  or  Hatchery Writers subgroup page