When I was a Girl I used to Scream and Shout
by Sharman Macdonald
While working as an actress in London, Glaswegian born Sharman Macdonald wrote her first play, When I Was A Girl, I Used to Scream and Shout, and it was first performed at The Bush Theatre in London in 1984. It won the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright that year, before transferring to the West End for a highly successful run.
Embracing her Scottish culture and wit, Sharman Macdonald’s When I Was A Girl I Used To Scream and Shout is a bitingly funny, delicately crafted, memory play exploring the parallel growing pains of a mother and daughter. Set in 1983, the play takes a stripped and honest look at the relationship between childless, unmarried Fiona and her crisp, divorced mother Morag, with whom she is sharing a Scottish beach holiday. As the play unfolds we discover it was in the very same resort where at least a decade previously, the young Fiona struggling with an imposed view of religion and sexuality, deliberately got pregnant to prevent Morag's remarriage and her mother's one chance of happiness.
By turns funny and painful, the play is also typical of several of Macdonald’s later plays, in that it explores ambiguities and tension in domestic life. When I Was A Girl I Used to Scream and Shout gave Macdonald the distinction for some time of being the only female playwright in London’s West End apart from Agatha Christie. She owed much to the late Alan Rickman for it’s original discovery. Rickman was in 1984 a reader for the Bush’s New Writing Program, picked it from the unsolicited pile, gave it to the Theatre and said it should be put on immediately. Mr. Rickman later co-wrote with Ms. Macdonald the 1997 film adaptation of her play Winter Guest, which he also directed.
Ms. Macdonald’s other plays include two play’s commissioned by the National Theatre, 2006’s Broken Hallelujah and 1999’s After Juliet (which starred Ms. Macdonald’s daughter, the actress Keira Knightley), and 1988’s When We Were Women, which was first performed at the Cottesloe Theatre.
Fallen Angel Theatre Company's Off Broadway production will run from April 14 - May 8, 2016
at The Clurman Theatre, Theatre Row, New York City. Directed by John Keating.