Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chaz Got His Break during the Interval

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chaz Got His Break during the Interval

Article excerpt

Writer Chaz Brenchley talks about his first play and lends his advice to contestants in the Criminal Shorts short story contest.

A first play by one of the region's most prominent and prolific writers of fiction will put the tragedy of Aids centre stage next week.

Chaz Brenchley's A Cold Coming, a title borrowed from a poem by TS Eliot, "examines the complexities of relationships in the fact of imminent death", according to the billing.

A Brenchley play is quite a landmark. Over the best part of 30 years he has turned out nine thrillers, two fantasy series, three children's books and more than 500 short stories.

Never a play, though. So how come?

"When I was at university, and even before then at school, I always thought that play writing was one of the things that I would do alongside everything else that I was going to do," says the writer who lives at Arthur's Hill, Newcastle.

"But it's such a different process from writing fiction ( very collaborative ( and I didn't have access to the infrastructure that you need to get involved. I was shy and young and it's easier to sit at home with a keyboard. I was selling fiction and it's so much easier to work with the format that you're engaged in."

But then along came Peter Nathan ( during an interval break at the Theatre Royal ( and put Chaz on the spot. "He said, 'Chaz, write me a play'.

"When I was a teenager I was so stagestruck. I acted, I wrote, I loved everything about it and as soon as he opened the door for me I was so excited.

"I didn't have a story but I suppose I had a setting, a background, an area, a theme because I'd written a lot of material about Aids and people caring for people with Aids. It's a subject I come back to again and again but only ever in short stories. When I started thinking about it, this seemed a different way to use the same material."

The hour-long play is about Quin, diagnosed HIV positive 10 years ago. A year ago his condition worsened and it has fallen to a group of old friends and former students to care for him. …

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