Behind-the-Scenes of Writing a Play: Spring Robin

Behind-the-Scenes of Writing a Play: Spring Robin

SPRING ROBIN is a new student-written play set inside a University corridor, performing at the Corpus Playroom this week. We spoke to the play's writer, A. TYRRELL, about the process of writing the script.

What inspired you to write Spring Robin?

I’m not a fan of the winter months and every year I find myself willing that cold trawl from January to March to move quicker so that spring can finally SPRING. The past two years I’ve been at Cambridge I’ve found that patch of the year even harder – it’s like containing those months within a term intensifies them, making it feel like the cold and the dark are pressing down on your body, mind and relationships as well as the outside world. Everything’s heightened – the bad feels worse, but the good feels better, and while stress and pain and anxiousness might creep up, so does the joy of silly fun, new flirtations, and chatting about stupid stuff with mates. That’s what I wanted to write about in Spring Robin – the dark, slow, cold journey from winter to spring, from heartbreak to healing, and how the people around you make it easier to bear.

Since the show is set in a university, how have you found the balance between including personal details and making the story more universal?

Some parts of the play have come from me, but only in a broad sense and in ways that I hope most people will still be able to relate to. The rehearsal process has felt really collaborative, so it’s become clear if moments in the script didn’t feel accessible because the cast and production team haven’t connected to them – and those bits we’ve changed accordingly. I hope that the play feels personal in the sense that the audience feel they’re watching something real, but still relatable.

Has the script changed as actors bring it to life?

Absolutely. It’s been so exciting making the words on the page into a living thing in the rehearsal room, and the actors have made it such a rewarding process by approaching it all with such openness. They’ve brought so much of themselves to the script and now the characters have completely shifted away from how they used to exist in my head – but in the best possible way. Working with the cast has shone up which bits of the script wouldn’t translate from the page to the stage, or from my original conceptions of the characters to who they are now, and it’s been massively exciting to adapt and edit the script as we’ve gone along according to that. The characters feel real now. I genuinely can’t wait for other people to meet them next week!

What is your favourite moment in the show?

I don’t want to give any spoilers, but it comes just over halfway through and involves mug cakes and dancing and Billie Holiday. And if that isn’t enough to entice you to come and see it then I don’t know what is!

Spring Robin is being performed at the Corpus Playroom between Tuesday 21 and Saturday 25 January at 7pm