Just for a change, I thought it might be fun to write a pitch for what could be the hottest new play of 2023.
Rather than yet another drab drawing-room comedy or experimental work featuring no text, drama or action, my models are The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon.
While they tried hard, you may wonder whether either was quite as ambitious as yours truly.
Ideally, this is going to be a history play, although to some it could seem closer to a verbatim drama set in the present day.
The starting point might be a smart politician deciding to assert his authority by pretending to ask his subjects whether they wish to break strategic alliances with their largest trading partner, knowing that the ensuing referendum will be rigged to ensure that this doesn’t happen.
Stretching credibility almost to the limit, I will then have the voice of the people choosing near oblivion and forcing the government out of office to be replaced by some forgettable nonentity.
Three years on, I will create an election that is the equivalent to the TV game show in which a risible clown with criminal tendencies battles against a mad ideologue in a contest from which there can be no winners.
I’m still deciding which of the un-dynamic duo should win yet but the real losers will be the citizens who keep making these terrible choices.
Back in the good old days, if you wanted to make life a bit more exciting, then the obvious solution was to introduce a plague into proceedings. That may seem ridiculously far-fetched but I’m going to give it a go. That and ongoing post-Shakespearean wars with the French and the Scots.
The plague might be deadly but chortling and partying along the way the supreme leader will ignore it completely, leading to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.
On the other side of the equation, I was considering a dashing Hotspur figure but decided that in real life the leader of the opposition should be a bland but likeable nobody with a charisma bypass to contrast as much as possible with the elected superstar.
Inevitably when you have a crook in power, they will appoint similar characters in supporting roles patiently waiting to throw out and oust the increasingly beleaguered confidence trickster who would be King.
Instead of then allowing 70 million people to choose his successor, I thought it might be more entertaining to restrict the electorate to the residents of the country’s mad houses.
They will inevitably choose someone mirroring their own lunatic tendencies who will surround him or herself with like-minded (if that is the appropriate term) individuals hellbent on their country’s destruction / extremists.
In case all of this is a little too dull, the plot is then going to be spiced up as, greatly against centenarian expectations, the much-loved monarch will breathe her last having dismissed and welcomed prospective old and new party leaders to one of her many ancestral homes.
Even though a couple of friends to whom I have handed the initial proposal think that all of this is over egging the pudding horribly, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
After a period of mourning for the late Queen and the appointment of her ageing son, who immediately gets into hot water, being banned from attending a climate change conference by the bossy new head of state, the plot really thickens.
Before the country has even wiped away the last of its collective tears, the new PM and her money man launch into a comedy double act that has the whole world doubled up in mischievous disbelief, not to mention interest rates doing exactly the same and plunging the citizenry into penury.
In true Shakespearean fashion, following many of the principles laid down by Gibbon, this reincarnation of Richard III then knifes his or her best friend in the back and, within days, enters into a duel to the death with one of the most senior advisers and fatal devotees, followed by a bout of fisticuffs amongst supporters in the Houses of Parliament.
If I wanted this to be sensationalist TV docudrama, then undoubtedly, I would have made some minor apparatchik stab the new leader in the back after six weeks but that would be too ridiculous.
Casting has already started with a number of enthusiastic iceberg lettuces attending the opening audition.
I haven’t quite worked out what will happen next (perhaps a return of the crook?) but feel sure that it will be equally explosive and might well eventually form itself into an all-day trilogy at the RSC. My original title had been The Crown but that seems to have been nabbed already so instead, let us call this three-part epic The Clown.
To be continued.