Why did you pick this a particular story for creating your script?
I wanted to select a story that would be easy to produce, so I chose one that only required a few actors and was set somewhere simple. The Stag Do is a short story from the book The Basilwade Chronicles which Chapeltown Books published in 2019. It contains four characters, the curmudgeonly bridegroom, Sydney Jugg; his wheeler dealer brother, Toby; their tactless cousin, Derek Carruthers and Sebastian who the bride’s friend has coerced into being an usher. There are two scenes, and both are set in the same pub. The first scene takes place the week before the stag do while they plan what they’re going to do to celebrate and the second is the actual night of the stag do.
I thought this story would make a good script because much of it involves dialogue, with very little action. The focus is on the characters and their interactions with each other. The two brothers have a difficult relationship with Toby constantly provoking the rather pompous Sydney. Self-centred Derek is more concerned that he doesn’t miss the last bus home than with planning or taking part in the stag do. Only kind and considerate Sebastian holds everything together, despite not knowing any of the other men and having been bribed to be Sydney’s usher. I thought their humorous comments would make a good script because, other than caring Sebastian, the men often don’t converse, they merely talk at each other.
What was the biggest challenge in turning this into a script?
The biggest challenge was that the story that I chose came almost at the end of The Basilwade Chronicles, so anyone reading the book would already have met the four men and would have seen their characters and how they related to each other. I had to try to give a flavour of their personalities, whilst moving the story on in a script that would only take about ten minutes to perform.
Has your script been performed or have you any plans for this?
No, my script hasn’t been performed. The closest to a performance has been when the narrator, John Guest, read the Stag Do chapter from The Basilwade Chronicles out on a radio show. John has recorded the audiobook for The Basilwade Chronicles.
But no one has performed this script. I’d love to see it though! When I told John about the script being published in The Script Challenge, he said he’d also love to see it performed, so we’ll be first in the queue if anyone is interested!
Where would you like to see it performed?
The West End and Broadway…? No, seriously, anywhere!
Could you tell us which well-known actors you would like to see performing your script and why?
Playing Sydney Jugg, I see someone rather ordinary-looking but with a huge ego, such as Chris Barrie, as the incompetent manager of a leisure centre who constantly comes up with idiotic schemes in the BBC’s The Brittas Empire . Sydney carries a huge chip on his shoulder that his outlandish entrepreneurial schemes always seem to come to nothing. He’s jealous that his brother Toby, seems to have all the luck.
Sydney’s brother, Toby Jugg, would have to be David Jason as Del Boy in BBC’s Only Fools and Horses. They are both ‘wide boys’ and both have the cheeky chatter that often persuades people to trust them.
Toby Jones looking gormless as Lance in the ITV comedy, The Detectorists would make a good Derek Carruthers. He’d portray the right level of indifference to others’ feelings and his lack of social skills – bulldozing his way through any situation.
James Dreyfus as PC Goody in the BBC’s Thin, Blue Line would make a good Sebastian. They are both well meaning, kind and slightly clueless.
Do you have any more plans for similar scripts?
I’ve adapted some stories I’ve written about two outrageous elderly ladies and their neighbours. But I haven’t submitted the script anywhere yet.
The first of the stories was written from a photo prompt of an exotic, naked shaman-like figure with a painted face who is holding a skull above his head.
The story starts with the two ladies peering through a hole in the fence into the next-door neighbour’s garden at the naked shaman-like man who’s dancing on the lawn. During their comments and conjecture as to the identity of the man, it becomes clear that one of the ladies has a closer relationship with her next-door neighbour than the other had previously thought.