Play Next Door – Documentary and TV Play
Play Next Door is a literary challenge for television in which a writer moves into a community and writes an original play for television based on their impressions and experiences of living in that community. The TV play they write is set in the location they are living in and when the play is written we return to the location with a cast of actors and film the TV Play. This unique format allows writers to document creatively the times in which we live.
The writer, well known to audiences, will be followed throughout the research and writing process by a documentary team. On the night of broadcast each play will be preceded on television by a 40-minute documentary following the writer’s experiences of living in the community and researching his/her play. The documentary will give context to the finished TV Play.
The project is inspired by the style and immediacy of the so-called Kitchen Sink Drama, the classic genre that – in its television form – ran from the 1960’s to the 1980’s and explored the dramas beneath the surface of ordinary life. The Play Next Door project sets out with the same ambition. But Play Next Door mixes genres to create a unique television event in the schedules.
Each play is written for a specific location and filmed to reflect real time. The purpose of filming the plays in a very real location and as if they are happening in real time, is to create the impression that the audience is looking at a story that is unfolding at the very moment that they are watching it. The sense of the stories happening now is critical to the project. Like the Kitchen Sink dramas of previous decades, the plays become classic stories that capture key moments and themes.
All the writers who took part in the series felt that Play Next Door was one of their most challenging and exciting creative experiences. Both the Documentaries and Plays took an 18% share on RTE 1. The Documentary ran from 10.15pm to 11.00pm immediately followed by the TV play.