We caught up with Robert Wilkinson, local playwright, after his succesful run at the Maltings with The Words in the Wires. Rob will be presenting his latest piece, an interpretation of The Lawyer’s Tale: Lord Kames’s Puzzle from Wilson’s Tales at Paxton House on Saturday. Tickets are available from the Maltings
The Wilson’s Tales Project (WT): Are you excited to perform at the Paxton Literary Festival?
Robert Wilkinson (RW)”Yes. And that’s not because my brain is hardwired to equivocate the word “festival” with “beer”.”
WT: Have you performed at Paxton House before?
RW: “Never. I don’t really perform all that much anymore. My memory is so lousy these days – can’t keep the lines in my head. I pretty much have to have them tattooed to the inside of my eyelids.”
WT: Anna Emmins, a.k.a Electric Penelope, said she was excited to see “Lord Kames’s Puzzle” because she says you are “a fabulous writer”. Are you excited to hear her song, “The Ballad of the World’s Vanity”?
RW: “I am deeply flattered that Anna would say such a thing and I’m a massive fan of Anna’s music. I heard a small sample of the song at her home and it sounded wonderful.”
WT: How are you getting on with “Lord Kames’s Puzzle”?
RW: “It took me a while to find out how to tell the story in a dramatically interesting way that would appeal to a modern audience. I had to rest it on the back-burner for a short while during the run up to The Words in the Wire but things are slotting together fine now.”
WT: How is “Lord Kames’s Puzzle” different from your other work?
RW: “I tend to write fairly romantically- swashbuckling aspirational idealistic characters who reach high and fall short… this story isn’t that at all- it’s very Hitchcock/Twilight Zone plot driven thriller. It’s a nice change of pace and a bit of a challenge.”
WT: Why did you decide to take on this challenge?
RW: “Simply, to see if I could. There’s always a danger that you can pigeonhole yourself as a writer. This was a way of finding a new string for my bow so-to-speak. I also rarely write with a set deadline. I’ve been spoiled in that all my other works have been held back until I think they’re ready… this time I didn’t have that luxury.”
WT: Would you be interested in doing more work for The Wilson’s Tales Project in the future?
RW: “I would be interested in telling the tale of Wilson himself. He has the feel of a modern historical bard. His tales would be told to the family brought together by the fireside on a Sunday evening. That’s a special thing and a heroic thing to do. To create something that brings people together is a very precious magic.”
WT: Have you read any of the Tales yourself (apart from “Lord Kames’s Puzzle” of course)?
RW: “Sadly not, I have been so busy working on several other projects that I rarely get the chance to read anymore. Reading was always a big passion for me. Thank God for bad ’80’s television or I may never have read a thing.”