…most of the time you were something good to think about. So don’t be hard on yourself OK? You did really well.
From When You Cure Me by Jack Thorne, 2005.
How do you write a play about a rape? Why would you write a play about rape? Why would you watch a play about rape? When You Cure Me by Jack Thorne was an early play which lead him to write for Chanel 4’s Skins and from that, this forged his successful career as a writer. I need to know what makes a great piece of writing? What captures the audience? What is it that turns words on paper to a performance at the Royal Court? We have been picking apart his career at Drama Centre recently and have I been trying to see why writers like Jack have been able to have the mother of all writing careers.
When You Cure Me – a closer look
Jack Thorne’s When You Cure Me is about a young teenage girl, Rachel who is recovering from being raped which leaves her with psychosomatic paralysis. Her new-ish boyfriend helps her to pee in a pan which lives under her bed. Peter dutifully sits by her bedside. He’s awkward, understandably. They have been going out for 6 months – a time where there should have been fumbled feel-ups under tops, group dates with each others best friends eating in Nando’s. Definitely not nursing your girlfriend through a vicious sexual attack by a man that hasn’t been caught. Rachel is dealing with being a 17 year old girl who had her virginity taken in a truly brutal way . Peter is dealing with all of this, her continually anxious mum and trying to still be her boyfriend.
It’s the bravery of Rachel that keeps me turning the page, despite the subject matter. It’s the depth of Peter’s character going from a first love to an over-protective, almost father-figure (Rachel’s father has passed away) to his girlfriend in need. The thing is, Rachel may be in need, but she is not needy. She becomes strong because she realises that, for example, her mum is trying her absolute best whilst still grieving from the death of her husband and then this traumatic rape of her daughter. She realises at the end that she needs to retain that strength that she has, for herself. It’s enough that she has to save some for her mum, but not for a boy that is too doing his best, but ultimately is too much effort.
It has come as a perfect opportunity to meet him at a Q&A in early December at IdeasTap. I am hoping to ask him some questions, similar to my rants above, but obviously put more eloquently.
My next post about Jack Thorne, will hopefully be my answers.