I Am The Walrus script published

Oct 9 2012 | By More

Script of Theatre Workshop classic published on Amazon

By Thom Dibdin

A play about John Lennon’s assassin, Mark Chapman, which premiered at Edinburgh’s Theatre Workshop in 2001, has been published today, October 9, which would have been the late Beatle’s 72nd birthday.

I am the Walrus, performed and written by Nabil Shaban, is an attempt to get inside the head of the assassin. The performance script and the first draft are included in the Amazon download.

Shaban, who is best known as a co-founder of the Graea Theatre company and for his creation of the character of Sith in Dr Who, was involved with TW from 1996 to 2008. The play was a commission from the theatre’s artistic director Robert Rae, as Shaban told the Annals.

He said: “After working on Portadown Blues in 2000, Robert said he would like to commission me to pursue my idea of writing a one-person play, for me to perform, about the life and death of Hollywood dwarf star, who was also my friend, David Rappaport, who committed suicide by shooting himself.”

Although Shaban did the preparatory work for the play, researching and interviewing friends and family, he decided to postpone the project at the request of David’s son, Joe.

“Instead, I suggested to Robert, as I still wanted to keep the writing commission, that I write instead a play about Mark Chapman, and his assassination of my hero, John Lennon. From the day Lennon was shot, I wanted to know why he was killed, get into the head of the assassin, and then play the role.

“However, Mark Chapman clearly was not a British little man in a wheelchair, so to get around the issue of ‘Non-Cripping Up’, I decided to create a fictitious character who was English and a wheelchair-user who believed he was the real demon motivating Chapman’s murderous ambition. That way I get to ‘play’ Mark Chapman.”

Shaban’s involvement with Theatre Workshop marked an era in which the Stockbridge theatre was a hub of theatrical activity in Edinburgh. He and Rae first worked together on the 7:84 England production of Britannia Rig in 1985, the year in which Shaban first appeared as Sith.

After a chance encounter on a ferry to Ireland in the mid nineties, Rae invited Shaban to Edinburg to help devise a new show involving disabled actors. The play became D.A.R.E. about disabled militant anarchist revolutionaries fighting against the new eugenic movement.

“Then Robert decided to hire me as performer in his 1996 Christmas show, Nettles and Roses,” recalls Shaban. “Probably the first director in Scotland to include a disabled actor in a non-disabled company. After that Robert decided he would like to make Theatre Workshop, an inclusive company that would offer regular work to disabled actors.

“After that, I would come to Scotland about once a year to work on various shows, including Portadown Blues, various revivals of D.A.R.E. and The Little Lamp. From 1996 to 2008 Robert was the only theatre director to keep my acting career alive, apart from the one-off stint at the Royal National Theatre in London, 1998 which led to nothing.”

Further playscripts and books by Nabil Shaban available on Amazon include: D.A.R.E.,The First To Go and Dreams My Father Sold Me: Poems and Graphic Art of Nabil Shaban. He is also the author of thriller: The Ripper Code.


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