In my life I have come up with some horrendous characters.
There was Reagan in Below Babylon, who taunted and toyed with innocent people before killing them just for the fun of it. There was Andrew in Phoenix, who maimed people for information he knew they didn’t have. There’s Addison Cane in my still in progress Boone Shepard series, who threw our hero from a flying casino when he refused to help her plans for world domination. And Windmills was pretty much made up of characters who should be behind bars for one reason or another.
But I think I’ve now hit the peak. Two days ago, I finished writing the first draft of my latest play, The Last Supper, the conclusion of a loose trilogy with Below Babylon and Beyond Babylon. The seed for that story has been rattling around in my head for a while, if only as a chance to look into the mysterious Cartel that dominated the first two plays. But last week I came up with a strong enough concept; the leader of the Cartel calls his closest associates together for dinner, locks the doors and reveals that he knows one of them is planning a coup and nobody is leaving until he figures it out. Cue twists, shifts of power, reveals of secrets and lots of blood. Thanks to a night of awesome brainstorming with my business partners at Bitten By Productions, Justin and Ashley, I had the plot and the characters completely clear in my head when I started writing, and consequently I finished the script in three days.
There are a couple of reasons for this. One, it was just genuinely fun to write. And two, the central character is one of the most downright despicable monsters I have ever come up with, and so damn compelling that I just had to see more of him. Dorian is a middle aged, drug addled crime lord who rose to power by training the Enforcers, a collective of elite assassins who were so dehumanised they would do whatever he said, no matter how horrifying. Now, losing his grip on both power and sanity, Dorian sits at the top of his empire and prepares to neutralise all sorts of imagined threats, while snorting cocaine and monologuing about the nature of power and the sexual deviancies of Adolf Hitler. The depths of his corruption were a twisted joy to explore, as well as what remains of his humanity.
In many ways, Dorian is the natural culmination of the Babylon story. When I first started writing Below Babylon over a year ago, it was the story of the one Enforcer who decided to change his ways and how that led to both his death and redemption. The ripple effects of that have coloured the plot of The Last Supper, as we finally meet the man responsible for the appalling characters we have followed in the previous two plays. Between writing this new script and now being deep into the rehearsal process of Beyond Babylon (opening in August) my passion for this world has never been greater. I am immensely proud of this trilogy, and I can’t wait to see the rest of it realised.
Below Babylon was a noir/western about a man rediscovering his long lost humanity in the face of death. Beyond Babylon is the nastier, more unpleasant sibling that explores justice and purpose, and is probably the most nihilistic and bleak thing I have ever written (it’s gonna be awesome). And now, closing out the story we have The Last Supper, the most violent, action packed, twisted part; a story about a man unable to come to terms with the fact that his time has gone and the world is beginning to change. In my humble opinion (and granted this might just be because it’s new) I think it’s the best of the three.
Will there be more Babylon stories? Probably. It’s a rich world with a lot of corners still left to explore, however when you see Beyond Babylon and The Last Supper you’ll see that these three plays actually form one continuous narrative arc that has a pretty clearly defined beginning, middle and end. They are all standalone plays, but I think seeing all three will be the most satisfying way to consume the story.
I can’t wait.
Writing words about writing words.