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As a result of this guestbook, over the last couple of years, I have been lucky enough to receive messages from all over the world. 

This has brightened up my life no end! 

When what is often a fairly hard grind at the desk turns into something that gives people pleasure performing and watching, the process doesn’t seem quite as lonely.

There are 401 guestbook entries in 17 pages and you are on page number 17
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Comments by Bradley

 

 



Saw Hijack over Hygenia at the Swan when I was about 7.It was the first play I saw and it had a wonderful effect on my life.Just want to say thanks:-)






Thanks, Bradley. HIJACK was one of my favourite plays, but, since the first production at the Swan, Worcester, the one you saw, I don't think it has been performed professionally! Quite a lot of amateur companies do it, I'm glad to say, and I once saw a splendid one performed by the Brits living in Brussels!



I'm pleased to say that Samuel French still publish the play!



All good wishes,



Yours,



David



 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Karen Meyerhoff

 

 



Swell site, David. I especially like the part while its loading and your picture slides back and forth in manner of Terry Gilliam . Congrats!
Karen

 

United States

 


Comments by Paul Collins

 

 



Just LURVE it! You're my mini-hero.
Love,
P.
xxx

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Adele Geras

 

 



Love your website Woody!!
Best as ever,
Addle

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by George Watson

 

 


Hi David,
I just wanted to thank you again for answering my questions.
I'm very interested in your book. There was one part I was interested in? I read a statement you wrote about a boy who wrote to you changing the end of the Witches movie, and you kept the same as the book for the play.
How important due you feel it was keeping the play the same, I'm surprised they changed the ending although I think we all know why, I just wondered what your feeling were on this subject?
George






Q. How many times did you go about reading the novel before beginning the script.


Twenty or thirty times. I try to understand how the story works, to get into the head of the author!

Q.How did you structure the script around the novel, for example did you write pages of notes about the book in chapter form, or literally write the script while turning the pages of the book?


The structure of a book is very different from the structure of a play. The craft is to restructure the material to the other medium without destroying the spirit of the book. I try to be faithful to the author's intentions, but this doesn't stop me reordering the events, leaving out sections or even changing the ending. But always for the best of - theatrical - reasons.


I make several précis versions, from memory, after reading, reading, reading. Sometimes this simplifies the plot somewhat, and gives it a strong through line, necessary in a play.



Next stage is vital for me. I write a very full synopsis of the play. The original synopsis of THE BFG is in my book, together with notes on how I got to that stage.


The synopsis explains how the story works on stage, the cast numbers, the locations. It is often a selling document, from which producers can budget.



During the synopsis stage I am looking out for big theatrical moments, good dialogue that will transfer, and the best place for the interval! Hopefully a cliff-hanger to make the audience want to return for the second half.


The script is written from the synopsis, with the book to hand, for reference and for occasional dialogue transfer.

Q. How did you manage to keep certain part from the book and extract others, was it your choice or the director/Roald Dahl Estate?


My job is to tell the story theatrically. Some parts of the story, some characters even, may get left out. The story order may change. I send the synopsis to the Dahl Estate for approval, comments etc.


Q. How much contact did you have with the Roald Dahl estate?


Quite a lot, but not too much! Not now anyway. They see the synopsis and the finished script, and can always comment, but hopefully not want too much changed! Certainly they have not asked for many changes in the five Dahls I have adapted.


Q.How difficult was it to adapt such well-known stories to stage?


It isn't easy. It is a specialised craft. And I am always aware that the books are much-loved. Therefore there is a real responsibility to be true to the author's original. But a theatre experience is different from a reading experience, so it is more than simply lifting stuff from the book! And much of Dahl requires fantasy, magical things to happen in vision. Giants and witches aren't easy! Part of my job is to make it possible to stage the story, to solve the problems for the director. My book has a lot about this.


THE BFG was very hard to crack!


Q. Have you/would you consider writing screenplays for film?


I have written screenplays, but not of Dahl's work. I enjoy writing for film, but it is a totally different discipline from theatre.


Q. What has been your favourite script/why?


No favourites, really, but I had a lot of fun directing my adaptations of THE BFG and THE WITCHES.


Q.What do you think is the hardest part of adapting a story?


Making what seems natural and logical and plausible on the page transfer physically to the stage. Not as easy as it sounds!



 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by George Watson

 

 


Hi David,
I just wanted to thank you again for answering my questions.
I'm very interested in your book. There was one part I was interested in? I read a statement you wrote about a boy who wrote to you changing the end of the Witches movie, and you kept the same as the book for the play.
How important due you feel it was keeping the play the same, I'm surprised they changed the ending although I think we all know why, I just wondered what your feeling were on this subject?
George





The boy you mention wrote attacking me for changing the end of the book in my adaptation of THE WITCHES. I was able to point out to him that he obviously had not read the book, but had seen the movie. My play ends as the book ends, with the Boy-Mouse remaining a mouse. Dahl wrote this so that the Boy-Mouse and his Grandmother, who are so interdependent and close, should have a similar lifespan, something that pleases them both. For me, too, this is a much better ending in both literary and theatrical terms.


When Dahl was taken to see a rough cut of the movie he liked the end, which was faithful to his book. But, as he left, the director said, 'We may as well show you the alternative ending!'.........Dahl saw it and was very unhappy - it was a conventional Hollywood 'happy ending'. But he knew that was the ending they would use, and, having signed away the rights, was powerless to do anything about it.



I would happily change the ending if I felt it was a good idea for THEATRICAL reasons. For instance, I changed the ending of THE BFG. In the book, he stays with Sophie and the Queen and ends up writing the book. I decided he should return to Giant Country, back to his cave and his dream-blowing, but he will return to see Sophie once a year. This bitter-sweet ending meant we could see the BFG walking off into the sunset at the end, waved goodbye by Sophie, a more effective ending in my opinion.


I'm glad to say I have never received one letter of complaint about this! I assume it 'works' so nobody notices. It all goes back to being faithful to the story, but rethinking it in theatrical terms. It is a real craft!



Best wishes,



DW.



 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by George Watson

 

 


Hi David,
Thanks for your answers they were really helpful and crucial towards my research. It was fasanating to see how much research you conduct, and how intesnsive it is but then again like you said you have to get into the mind of the author, which must be fascinating.
:- George

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Old Ma Coconut

 

 


Well I never! You kept this one quiet, David.
Lovely to see a celebration of your work online.
Rolla bowla ball!
CH x

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Michael Darvell

 

 


Read your chocoholics interview if you hadn't had terry's choc orange bars, you haven't had their segsations - choc orange in individual segments

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Adrian Phillips

 

 


North Sea Hi-Jack - what a film!
Stayed up late the other night to watch you. Hope you got a cheque?
See you on the 26th Oct.
Adrian

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Gweneth Savage

 

 


We met briefly 3 years ago LTG conference/Crescent theatre. U said r writing Goodnight Mr Tom, have watched French's lists am desperate to direct it




Thank you for your message. I am still hoping to adapt GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM, so watch this space as well as the Samuel French catalogue!
There is a musical version available, published by Weinberger's. As I probably told you, I am hoping to write a play version.
All good wishes,
Yours,
David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Casey

 

 


Hi! My name's Casey and I love drama and playwriting I think that you should write a play based on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!



Dear Casey,



Thanks for your e-mail. There are already several play versions of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. So I don't think I will be writing one! The two versions most regularly performed in the UK were adapted by Glyn Robbins, whose production toured for several years, and Adrian Mitchell, who adapted it for the Royal Shakespeare Company.



Best wishes,



David

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Anthony

 

 


Love the site!

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Adrian Phillips

 

 


Dear David

great site, at long last you've discovered the 21st C. Also, congratulations the the award. If you were picking it up the week after we could've met up as I'm speaking at a conference in NY week of the 11th. Such is a globetrotters life. Speak to Katherine quite a bit - she seems very well and happy. Hope the same goes for the rest of the family. Regards Adrian

 

United States

 


Comments by Andrew Dodge

 

 


A very lively site, David! Great stuff. Looking forward to the ACA link.

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Pheona Croom-Johnson

 

 


Hellooooo - what a fab website - so pleased this is up and running just as I am going.

It looks brilliant. I am just about to navigate my way through with Marlis - so we will have a happy 10 mins or so.

Looking forward to seeing you both on Friday. With love Pheona

 

United Kingdom

 


Comments by Katherine Wood

 

 


Hi Dad (and Philip) Just wanted to say the site is looking absolutely fantastic! Can't wait for it to go live. We should have a party to celebrate it's 'liveness'! See you soon, Love Katherine x ps Still think there should be a family page with a picture of us all on it! There could even be a link to the Young Vic!

 

United Kingdom

 

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