The Boy with Nails for Eyes

The war can’t be won. The war has won.

In the town every house is the same, every day is the same. On one side the chimneys. On the other, the war. It marches across the horizon. It roars and swings its fists.

The people of the town know, they all know – one day the war will see them, will cross the ocean and fall upon them. The entire town sits on the edge of the ocean like a boat on the edge of a waterfall – teetering from day to day, back and forward, ticking on the brink.

All his life Bobby has lived in the town. It’s seeped into him. He wonders: is he ill? Night brings strange dreams. He walks in his sleep.He’s like the town itself – balanced on the brink of madness.

The Boy with Nails for Eyes is a comic. See below for some sample pages.

Prologue

  • from Prologue: Crows
  • from Prologue: Crows
  • from Prologue: Crows

Chapter 1

  • from Chapter 1: Bobby
  • from Chapter 1: Bobby
  • from Chapter 1: Bobby

Chapter 2

  • from Chapter 2: Dreams
  • from Chapter 2: Dreams
  • from Chapter 2: Dreams

Chapter 3

  • from Chapter 3: The Theft
  • from Chapter 3: The Theft
  • from Chapter 3: The Theft

Chapter 4

  • from Chapter 4: The Labyrinth
  • from Chapter 4: The Labyrinth
  • from Chapter 4: The Labyrinth
  • from Chapter 4: The Labyrinth

Short Operas

Wreckage of Dreams

Night. A small raft, adrift on the sea with a dead engine, is alone under the moon…

In March 2011 seventy refugees fled Libya, hoping to escape to Europe across the Mediterranean. Two weeks later, their engine broken, their food and water depleted, their boat drifted back onto the Libyan coast. By this point nine were left alive. During their drift the refugees had encountered fishermen, a NATO helicopter and a warship. Nevertheless, they remained adrift.

Wreckage of Dreams is a short opera written about the event. It was originally written for the ENO’s Miniopera competition, based on a scenario written by Neil Gaiman. The script was one of the finalists.

The script is in the public domain so is available for performance or setting to music by any and all.

» Read Wreckage of Dreams

On Harrowdown Hill

In 2003 a body was discovered in an area of woodland known as Harrowdown Hill in Oxfordshire. It was the body of a man in his late fifties. He had been without a coat, though the weather had teeth in it. He was identified as David Kelly.

Kelly was a British weapons expert and UN inspector who died of an apparent suicide in the lead-up to the second Iraq War, in the midst of the ‘dodgy dossier’ scandal in the UK. This short opera imagines moments leading up to a similar demise.

The original scenario for On Harrowdown Hill was written by Will Self for the ENO’s 2012 Miniopera competition. Like Wreckage of Dreams, my other script, it was selected as a competition finalist.

Also like Wreckage of Dreams, On Harrowdown Hill is in the public domain so is available for performance or setting to music by anyone.

» Read On Harrowdown Hill