I don’t write for my various blogs as much as I used to. I still write as much online, but it just seems to end up in forums or Facebook groups. But I did want to take a few minutes out from my really busy life (note the sarcasm) to say a few words about the playscript of Breaking Point that I have just published.
I published the novel of Breaking Point back in 2013, and then an expanded version in 2019, alongside a sequel called Breaking Down. You can see where this is going. Before long we’ll have Breaking Up, Breaking Out, Breaking Wind… OK, perhaps not. They are not going to happen. And I shouldn’t really joke because Breaking Point is very important to me, as it’s a hard-hitting story about homophobic bullying in schools, but it’s not just the victim’s story, it’s the bully’s and the teacher’s too. And Breaking Down (the sequel) looks into the after-effects of bullying – again, through the eyes of all victims, bullies, and teachers. The long term mental health effects are very much to the fore here.
But I wanted to talk about the play because it was written long before the novel. It started life as a script for a short film back in 2002, which never got made for various reasons. I then turned it into a full-length film – which also didn’t get made, and then wrote it for the stage around 2009. Because I wrote the novel afterwards, and could put much more into that longer format, I tended to forget about the play, but every so often I found the files on the computer and thought “I must take another look at that.” When I finally did look at it last autumn, I surprised myself at how well it worked as a play – and also how far it tapped into certain things that would become commonplace during the last decade (such as online bullying). But I knew I couldn’t publish it without changing a few things here and there, and so set to work.
The second act needed most work, as it was rather flimsy in its original form, and so I went back to the novel I had written based on the story and pulled across some episodes from that which I thought would work well, and which would flesh out some of the characters as well. But what struck me most of all was how relevant it all was – even more relevant, I think, than when I had last fooled around with it a decade ago.
I spend a lot of time online, and it doesn’t take much to see that homophobic abuse is increasing within our everyday lives. We can see it every day on Twitter, for example. And, living in the centre of a city as I do, I can hear it every day from my window – and an increase in racial and religious abuse, too. And, without getting too political, it says something of the state we are in as a society when I needed to insert current gay slurs into the text for the bullying scenes and the ones I chose were the same ones used by our Prime Minister.
Breaking Point has never been performed, although it has got as far as read-throughs and rehearsals, and I would very much like a production or two or three to happen. The play is one of the pieces of writing I am most proud of, despite how heartbreaking it is in places – and how much of it rings true with regards what I went through or saw when I was at school (although this is certainly not my story).
The play of Breaking Point is free for any amateur group, youth theatre, school, college or university to perform (and any variations of those I have missed out). All I ask is that you “keep me in the loop.” That means, contact me before you start your production, and then let me know how it’s going. If the production is in the UK and I can attend, I would love to do so – health permitting. If you are thinking of producing the play, I am happy to provide you with a PDF of the script, so that you can get your copies the cheapest way possible. The use of a bare stage with minimal props also helps keep the costs down for theatre groups.
So, finally, I set the script of Breaking Point off into the world. Take good care of it…and yourselves.
Breaking Point can be purchased on Amazon in Kindle form at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Breaking-Point-Play-Shane-Brown-ebook/dp/B084RWSP6D/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=shane+brown+breaking+point+play&qid=1581906379&sr=8-1
And it can be bought in paperback form at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Breaking-Point-Play-Shane-Brown/dp/B084QK92QL/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=shane+brown+breaking+point+play&qid=1581906421&sr=8-2
It is also available at Amazon stores across the globe.