Writers Talk — Sarah Delahunty

Posted on Jun 5, 2013 | Comments Off on Writers Talk — Sarah Delahunty

Sarah Delahunty and Lucy46680_10151217818046580_250327721_n-1Sarah and I are both playwrights but I didn’t get to know her till we were both at Playwrights’ Conference in Hamilton and she was delegated to drive me to and from the venue each day.  We enjoyed talking about plays and when we got  back to Wellington began meeting regularly and writing scripts.  Sarah and I still meet to talk writing and anything else that crops up.  Sarah is a highly regarded playwright, director and drama teacher and the work she does with her students has received many accolades.  She also directs other playwright’s scripts and has just finished directing a production of After Juliet (at Circa) and is now directing Sweeney Todd for Onslow College.  The plays we are writing under the umbrella title A Wild Patience will be presented as readings in September.  Here’s Sarah and her granddaughter Lucy June on Otaki Beach…


I think for me writing plays it is usually something to do with some characters. Something that might happen between them, or something that might change them in some way. I often pinch bits of already existing storylines or characters and twist them to fit a new form or story. I am never teeming with story ideas. Some image of a moment on stage often just sticks in my mind for a few weeks and then it feels inevitable that I have to explore it.


I definitely don’t plan everything before beginning writing. I usually have a beginning pretty quickly and all goes okay for a few pages. Then the struggles starts and sometimes I see where I need to get to but it can take a while to work out how to get there.


I have no rituals except never writing anything unless I have told a group of people I will write them a play by a certain date then sitting down to it far too late and writing in a kind of frenzy in whatever small amounts of spare time I have in the day.


I handle rejection or just critism with outward casual stoicism and inward resentment and grumpiness. I immediately believe all criticism to be objectively true and go through a stage of thinking the whole thing was pointless. Then I get over myself in the end.


My first really good review for a play had to be read several times before it sank in. But generally I just put on my own work myself and avoid the whole issue of whether other people would be prepared to do it.