It all started with an idea; I have them occasionally!
I liked the idea of three separate plays that could be performed individually, but at the same time could be ‘joined’ to make one longer play.
I’ve been fascinated with certain ‘celebrities’, people who are constantly in the media and yet have no talent – they don’t act, they don’t sing and yet their publicists secure column space in the tabloids daily.
There is though also the obsession with celebrities; the magazines that act as publicity vehicles for PR people who feed them constant ‘exclusive’ stories, that are in every paper!
There have been stories of stalkers though that are disturbing and indeed of course, tragic, as in the awful case of Rebecca Shaeffer who was murdered by a ‘fan’ in 1989.
That gave me the basis of the story. I liked the idea though too of ‘cry wolf’, where an imaginary stalker is created, only for a real one to appear.
I’ve also observed how people reinvent themselves – Stephen Fry is a prime example, Leslie Grantham another, both sent to prison for serious crimes. Everyone has a secret, all families have secrets. The ‘secret’ in this story is actually based on a true situation that friends of my parents were involved in when their teenage daughter, my mum’s goddaughter, got pregnant.
There is usually an innocent victim. Where the title The Murder of Summer came from I have no idea, but gave the name Summer to the young girl in the stories.
I also liked the idea of a ‘one-hander’ play; all my previous plays have been two handers, for two actors. This is how The Haunting of Owen came about – a man driven crazy by the voices he heard in his head, the split personalities inside him. There is a great episode of Criminal Minds with James Van Der Beek, (best known as Dawson in Dawson’s Creek), in which he plays a schizophrenic murderer who is his bible-bashing, obsessed, violent father and also himself at the same time. One of Michael Jackson’s guitarists once told me that working with Jackson was like working with two different people – a ten year old kid one minute and then he’d be like a sixty year old man; Jackson was ten or so when he was thrust into the spotlight and his childhood was killed then – the sixty year old man was his father who controlled him.
As I was writing Summer the images came fast and furious; I was there in the bare and dark bedroom with Owen, with his demons. In some ways I felt sorry for Owen, he had been deceived, but good doesn’t always win.
I hope you like the stories.