Internet Cafe - November / December 2002
A comedy in two acts, approx 100 minutes.

Originally conceived as an excuse to write two hours of material about bagels, 'Internet Cafe' was written in the 5 weeks leading up to Christmas 2002, a period during which my computer threw up under the strain and had to be humanely destroyed, forcing me to re-type much of this play whilst simultaneously cursing the gods of modern technology.

It should be noted that, like the character of John, I too own a cuddly aardvark and have met up with a girl I first encountered on the internet. Twice in fact. But there reality and fiction part company. I think.
   Phil Gardner 2002-7
It's playtime!
Ledgers - March 2003
A one act play, approx 30 minutes.

A comedy about a subject close to my heart. The gratuitous use of penguins in the second half demonstrates the folly of people who think they can challenge me to add a ridiculous item to a script, safe in the knowledge that I'll never do it. That was one bet effortlessly won methinks.

I started writing 'Ledgers' three days after having double glazing fitted, which perhaps explains why I felt compelled to give a leading role to a window.
More money than sense?
Why not make a donation!
Be Worth It - Autumn 2003
"Energetically written with a neat idea."  - The Royal Court, London
"This play has a very strong theatrical concept... a clever and dramatically interesting construction...
the language is consistently strong and natural... it is well written and thematic."  - The Soho Theatre, London

A comedy in two acts, approx 2hrs 15mins.

'Be Worth It' has a bit of a long history. The original premise of the split stage and radio show came to me in late 2002 while I was writing 'Internet Cafe'. I made a page of notes, and planned to write the idea in early 2003 as a one-act play. As events transpired however, I chose instead to spend January and February creating this website. By March I had fallen out of love with my idea, and decided to write an entirely different one-act play, the result of which was 'Ledgers'.

A short film and some micro fiction later, I intended to start work on another full length play in June, based around the idea that Henrik Ibsen's classic 1882 play 'An Enemy of the People' bears a striking similarity to the film 'Jaws': a small town threatened by a danger in the water, an idealistic public servant fighting against political cowardice, a huge man-eating shark... or maybe that was only in Jaws. But anyway, I bought 'An Enemy of the People' in book form, and set about watching my favourite old video of the American Playhouse production of Arthur Miller's adaptation of the play, making notes as I went.

Whereupon I realised just what a stoopid idea this was.

Instead I turned to songwriting for a while, then in late summer went on holiday. Sitting in the St Mary's town hall on the Isles of Scilly on August 27th, watching the Scillonian Entertainers' Variety Show 2003, I found my mind wandering away from the pensioners singing music hall songs to a backing tape, and instead started thinking about that old idea I'd had for a one-act play. I began visualising how it could work on stage, and it struck me how it could be done as a full length two-act play.

When I won the raffle in the interval and collected my set of tablemats and coasters, I took it as a divine sign that this idea was a winner. By the time of the audience singalong at the end of the night, I had most of the play worked out in my head.

I began making notes on the boat back to Penzance on August 29th, then after a trip to London to see Matchbox 20 at Wembley Arena (which resulted in my main character being named Rob Thomas for a good couple of weeks), and a trip to Salisbury to care for a sister with a dodgy hand, I finally started writing 'Be Worth It' on September 12th.

In early October I stopped and wrote the film version of 'Internet Cafe', returning to my play at the end of the month. I eventually finished seven weeks later on December 17th 2003, whereupon I collapsed from nervous exhaustion and vowed never to write another play as long as I live. Fortunately that only lasted 24 hours.

The finished play bears almost no resemblence to the page of notes I made over a year previously, but the result is, I feel, my best work to date. As a consequence, I am a little more protective of it. Act One, and the first part of Act Two may be read by any visitor to this site, but the remainder of the play requires a password. If you wish to read it, e-mail me, telling me who you are and your reasons for wanting to read the ramblings of a fool, and I'll send you the password. Perhaps.
Alas, the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, I knew them well.
I am not a biscuit.
Fly, you are free!
'Ledgers' has been performed on both sides of the Atlantic, from a High School in Chicago to a village hall in Suffolk. To see photos from the East Bergholt Dramatic Society's 2006 production, click here.
In October 2003 I rewrote 'Internet Cafe' as a movie screenplay. So to read that (slightly superior) version instead, click here.