Scribes at Work: Bryony Lavery, William Nicholson

Tony-nominated playwrights look to the future

Bryony Lavery

On the day “Frozen” preemed on Broadway, Bryony Lavery spent the afternoon at a reading of her new play, “Last Easter,” at MTC.

“It’s about a person with cancer who goes to Lourdes,” says the Brit scribe. “There are songs. It’s a comedy, really.”

Difficult subject matter inspires Lavery. “Frozen” is about a serial killer of children. Up next, she is adapting Dante’s “Inferno” for two U.K. theater companies, the Unicorn Theater for Children and Told by an Idiot.

As for all that tortured, evil flesh making a smashing kiddie play, Lavery confesses the subject matter might not be appropriate. “But it will be by the time we perform it,” she promises.

Most controversial is her teleplay “Restless Farewell,” which begins with no fewer than four car crashes. “Three characters die, but they hang around until their loved ones forget them,” Lavery says. “My agent calls it a hard sell.”

William Nicholson

Nominated for “The Retreat From Moscow,” William Nicholson says he has a new play in his head but won’t be able to put it to paper until he finishes a long list of eclectic projects.

As a children’s book writer, Nicholson penned the trilogy “The Wind on Fire,” and is currently at work on “Seeker,” a novel that will be published in the U.K. in September 2005. It’s the first in a series of novels called “The Noble Warriors,” which has a “Lord of the Rings”-like fantasy setting and focuses on “a warrior-monk group” that draws some inspiration from the Jedi in the “Star Wars” pics.

“I never felt fully satisfied that the films had taken me into the kinds of groups they were, and the training they had, and the combination of philosophy and warrior arts,” he says. “I thought, ‘I’m going to write my own.'”

Nicholson also is writing novel for groups called “The Society of Others,” about a slacker from a broken family. There are “threads of terrorism and counterterrorism,” he says.

Switching media hats, Nicholson finishes his screenplay for the feature film version of a British TV movie he penned called “Life Story” (shown in the U.S. under the title “The Race for the Double Helix”), about the discovery of the DNA structure.